Sydney amputee first in world to have two robotic arms

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By SJA Jafri

SYDNEY: A Sydney man is to become the world’s first person to have two robotic arms implanted. Former refugee Ghanim Al Shnen lost both limbs during a workplace accident in Sydney.

The former refugee arrived in Australia after surviving a perilous boat journey from his homeland of Iraq. Surgeons were forced to amputate his arms after a bar he was holding hit high voltage power lines.

He required extensive skin grafts to his hips and shoulders but his arms couldn’t be saved. “I said to them; please don’t cut my arms off. Everyone thought I would die,” he told media.

Ghanim fled Iraq in 2012 seeking a new life in Australia. He hasn’t seen his wife and three children for three years after they found refuge in Finland.

He is now having his arms rebuilt by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr Munjed Al Muderis who also fled Iraq as a refugee. “He had very extensive high voltage injuries. Losing his arms was a major setback for someone who was looking to start his life again in a new country,” he told 9News.

The world-first surgery involves inserting 10cms titanium rods into the patient’s forearms. They help provide a link between Ghanim’s nerves and his robotic arms. The connection of nerves, bone and muscle will allow him to control his prosthetic limbs using his mind.

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