It was only a few short years ago that Marty Keegan would have done anything to try and hide that he was born without a left hand. Today, Marty is not shy about sharing his experience and the benefit he has found through the comprehensive care of the Handspring Clinical Team. Marty is a 61-year-old male with a short left below elbow congenital limb absence. Marty worked for 35 years as an insurance agent and led an active lifestyle including playing soccer in college and in an adult men’s league, playing golf, fishing, hunting, running, and skiing. Marty did all of this with just his right hand.
Marty wore a prosthesis as a child, but gave up on it when he was 5 years old. He never felt like the prosthesis was a benefit to him and the overall experience left him with a negative impression of prosthetics in general. Marty was able to be active and live a fulfilling life, however, he admits that he had to struggle through tasks that required two hands. As a result of having to rely almost exclusively on his right hand and arm, Marty began to show symptoms of overuse syndrome later in his life resulting in two surgeries on his right arm and shoulder. This is very common for congenital amputees who decide to not utilize a prosthesis.
Marty approached Handspring regarding a prosthesis in 2010 after seeing news stories describing the new robotic hands that were just becoming available to patients at that time. At that point he was living with constant pain in his right arm and shoulder from repetitive overuse to compensate for his missing left hand. After exploring all of his prosthetic options with the Handspring Clinical Team, Marty and the clinical team decided that he would benefit most from an externally powered prosthesis as well as an activity specific prosthesis. No single prosthesis can address the multiple deficits associated with upper limb loss. The external powered prosthesis used an iLimb multi-articulating terminal device that enabled Marty to be able to pick up a variety of objects of different shapes and sizes. The activity specific prosthesis was light weight and included multiple different attachments for specific activities, such as a golf club adapter and a fishing pole adapter.
Marty’s life has been changed through the application of appropriate prosthetic technology by the Handspring Clinical Team. In addition to receiving expert upper limb prosthetic care, Marty, like all Handspring patients received extensive occupational therapy training by Handspring’s world renowned upper limb occupational therapists. Debra Latour, OTR/L, who herself has a right below elbow congenital limb absence, worked directly with Marty to help him be able to use the prosthetic tools that the Handspring Clinical Team provided him. "Armed" with his new prostheses and occupational therapy training, Marty has been able to continue to do the things that he loves and has experienced a decrease in the pain in his right arm.
Instead of hiding his residual limb, Marty now loves to share the things that he has learned to do with his prosthesis and has created a series of videos that he has titled "Why Didn’t I Think of That?" which are now on YouTube. You can see them here below: