Edinburgh man receives a wireless bionic device to help him walk

Bionic device that got stroke victim back on his feet again

EXCLUSIVE: Helen Puttick, Health Correspondent

18 Sep 2010

When John McGregor suffered a major stroke and lost the use of his right leg, he never stopped believing he would walk again.

John McGregor is the first person in Scotland to use the pioneering new aid. Pic: Gordon Terris

After months in hospital, he could manage to walk 50 yards but suffered “drop foot” – paralysis of the muscles that lift the foot, causing the toes to drag along the ground.

Now Mr McGregor has become the first person in Scotland to be fitted with a device that raises his foot for him.

The wireless system includes a leg cuff, which straps below the knee, containing two electrodes that stimulate the muscles. A sensor placed in the shoe, underneath the heel, switches on the electrical stimulation as the leg is raised to take a step, bringing up the toes. When the foot is lowered, the sensor turns the stimulation off, allowing the foot to lie flat.

With the help of the device, called the Wireless Ness L300, Mr McGregor, originally from Paisley but now living in Edinburgh, can walk for a mile.

He said: “The L300 has given me much more independence. I can now put it on and take it off by myself and I wear it from the early morning to the late evening. My style is much more natural and my stability has greatly improved, particularly when walking uphill and on flat ground. I can actually go for 40-minute walks.”

Mr McGregor, a cosmetic surgeon, had just retired from the NHS and was still treating private patients when he suffered the stroke in July 2007.

Despite his medical background, he did not realise what had happened. He rang helpline NHS 24 and was advised to see a GP the following morning.

When he saw his doctor he could still use his legs, but the weakness increased. He remembers lying in Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital unable to feel his right-hand side, being unhappy yet surprisingly calm.

Read the full article about this bionic device HERE