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War hero soldier is given a bionic arm.

A SOLDIER who lost a limb in a grenade attack has been fitted with a bionic arm by surgeons in Birmingham.

Corporal Andrew Garthwaite is thought to be one of the first British military amputees to be fitted with the pioneering prosthetic.

The 23-year-old, of the Queen's Royal Lancers, controls the arm's movement using muscles in his chest and back.

He lost the limb in September in a rocket-propelled grenade attack that killed another soldier. He was fitted with the new arm at the Queen Elizabeth and Selly Oak hospitals.

He told the British Forces Broadcasting Service: "When I first got hit and was in the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital, I was thinking 'oh God this is it, I can't ride my bike again' "I was thinking of everything I couldn't do. But then the prosthetist came from Headley Court to measure me for a new arm. He said: 'We've got this new arm which will work for you and in the future there's an operation called Target Nerve Reinnervation you will be able to receive - it won't be as good as a normal arm, but it will be the next best thing.' "That put a bit of light in my face. Now, since I've got the first stage of it I'm a lot happier. It's great - I mean I'm gutted I lost my arm but I'm just thankful there's something out there."

Cpl Garthwaite said that he has had to learn to be careful when he exerts pressure with his bionic hand, which can easily smash an egg or be painful for anyone he shakes hands with.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "We are committed to achieving the best in medical services and innovation for our personnel.

"All military patients receive the best care and prosthetics that are currently available and suitable for their rehabilitation."


Bionic man: Corporal Andrew Garthwaite.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 21, 2011
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