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Technology and a Little Ingenuity A KOOKY I D E A L E ADS TO TH E GR E AT E ST G I F T
I am not in the business of trying to sell people miracles. Through my work, I have seen a great many miracles take place, but I don’t lure people into my office by promising a cure for all that ails them. I do my best with every patient, but sometimes I let a person know that I simply cannot help them. It’s heartbreaking when I am forced to come to that conclusion. Recently, a patient came in who relied on a walker just to keep upright. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and in addition to severe nerve pain after back surgery, he suffered from a peroneal nerve injury, sometimes called drop foot. This man’s nerve damage was so bad that he could not lift his feet properly. He walked like he was drunk, and seeing him move was terrifying. You thought he might fall with every step! Parkinson’s, back surgery, and drop foot — this was a real triple whammy of symptoms. When he came in for the initial visit, I was disheartened to see him fail the trial treatment. I wouldn’t be able to help him with my usual methods, but my brain wouldn’t let it go. After some thought, I realized I might possibly be able to help this patient after all. A few months ago, I took a trip to Asia where I attended the China International Medical Equipment Fair. There, I was surrounded by amazing technology and the brilliant people who create it. As I reflected on some of the innovations I saw, a kooky idea formed in my head. There was a small device I saw at the CMEF being used in a remarkable way. We have the same device in the office, but it’s not something I ever considered utilizing beyond a treatment session. Willing to try something new if it mean I could help this patient, I called him back to the office. I attached the device to both his legs where they could target the perineal nerve and asked him to stand up. Right before my eyes, he stood and started to walk across the room with complete ease. His wife was dumbfounded, and he grinned from ear to ear. Each step was stable, and he was able to move around better than before. It was unequivocally the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
“The smile on my patient’s face was the best present I could ever
The device targets the nerves while measuring where you move your leg. When the patient takes a step, the device determines how his leg should be moving and sends a signal to his nerves to correct for any irregularities. It was a total shot in the dark, but I was delighted to see my theory work. Joy radiated from this man, and I
hope to receive.”
knew his life would be infinitely better. Over time, the device could possibly strengthen his nerves; and one day, he might be able to walk normally without it. The smile on my patient’s face was the best present I could ever hope to receive. I don’t sell miracles, but I do believe in them. When I see a miracle with my own eyes, it fills me with hope. Maybe my treatment can’t cure every person, but I will never stop innovating and searching for new ways to help my patients lead better and happier lives.
–Dr. Bao Tha i
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