Pair of non-articulated metal legs for a male Thalidomide affected teenager

Made:
1975 in Roehampton
maker:
Hanger Orthopaedic Group

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Pair of non-articulated metal legs for a male Thalidomide affected teenager with short lower limbs and short upper limbs (phocomelia), by Hanger Orthopaedic Group, Roehampton, Wandsworth, London, England, 1975. Blocked leather sockets with a front velcro flap (to facilitate the insertion of the respective feet). Adjustable feet-retaining straps are used to overcome the 'piston' action when walking. Rigid pelvic bands with hip joints and 'ring-catch' locks have been fitted. To aid stability the wooden feet have completely flat soles and a leather imitation shoe covering. N.B. The projecting bars on the hip locks have been fitted to facilitate their operation by the child's rudimentary hands and arms.

These artificial legs were created for a teenager with short arms and legs. This condition is called phocomelia. It was due to the effects of Thalidomide. This drug was given to pregnant women in the late 1950s and early 1960s to ease morning sickness. It caused thousands of serious birth defects, world-wide. Babies were born with under-developed or missing limbs.

The prosthesis consists of non-articulating legs attached to the body by rigid pelvic bands. The teenager used his existing hands and legs to move the prosthesis. His legs were placed within the hollow ‘thighs’. He pulled on the material handles attached to the knee to move each leg forward. The wooden feet have a leather imitation shoe covering. The flat soles aid stability. Artificial limb manufacturer Hanger made these metal legs in 1975.

Details

Category:
Orthopaedics
Object Number:
1999-568
Materials:
cotton (fibre), leather, metal, plastic
Measurements:
overall (including mounts for LOUT-460): 800 mm x 500 mm x 290 mm,
overall (object only): 800 mm x 500 mm x 240 mm,
type:
artificial leg
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • prosthesis
  • artificial limb
credit:
Richmond Twickenham and Roehampton Healthcare NHS Trust
status:
Permanent collection

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