Smart Woman: ReWalk Helps Paralyzed Patient

Published 07/07 2014 03:56PM

Updated 07/07 2014 06:48PM

Retired US Army Sergeant Theresa Hannigan is up and walking around her bedroom for the first time in three years.

An auto immune disease left 60 year old, Theresa Hannigan, paralyzed. Now, she can reach things off the shelf for herself without asking someone to do it for her.  

She's the first person in the United States to be able to use this wearable robotic exoskeleton known as the ReWalk at home.

Theresa Hannigan, a ReWalk patient says, "There are so many things that I have missed by sitting in the wheelchair. I just keep on moving."

The Food and Drug Administration recently cleared the ReWalk from Argo Medical Technologies for personal use. The robot powers hip and knee motion to help paralyzed patients stand and walk.  Theresa and 13 other patients have learned to use the system being studied at the Bronx VA Medical Center.

Dr. Ann M. Spungen from Exoskeletal-Assisted Walking Program, Bronx VA Medical Center says, "Almost all the subjects have lost fat. We have also had improvements in patient reported pain and quality of life. "


Theresa's caregiver, Patricia Seagren, says, "It's overwhelming to see how happy Theresa is doing every day activities. Her dream of being able to use it in her home. Means everything. Very emotional.. it is."  

The device cost about $70,000 and FDA clearance requires that a companion is also trained on using the ReWalk at home. But the benefits are life-changing!

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