5-year-old girl without fingers gets 3-D printed prosthetic hand


MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Five-year-old Emmy Hoffman looks like many other little girls her age. She has bright red hair and a spirit to match it.

“She was born with a condition called symbrachydactyly, which means she’s missing fingers on one of her hands,” said Jocelyn Hoffman, Emmy’s mom.

This means Emmy isn’t able to grip objects well. Symbrachydactyly happens in about one out of every 32,000 births. Emmy has a fighting spirit and never let her congenital condition stop her.

“She’s five now, so all of her friends are riding bikes and scooters, and she’s struggling to keep the handle bars straight because she doesn’t have that right-handed grip,” Hoffman said.

Tom and Jocelyn Hoffman decided to take action. They brought their little girl, who loves hot pink, to Ability Prosthetics in Mechanicsburg.

“We’re going to be fitting Emmy with her hand. It’s a 3D-printed hand,” said Eric Shoemaker, a certified prosthetist with Ability Prosthetics.

A 3D prosthetic hand costs around $50 while a traditional prosthetic device would be between $10,000 and $20,000.

“As she grows, we’ll be able to 3D-print new hands. As they break, we’ll be able to 3D-print new parts,” Shoemaker said.

After waiting for the big moment, the time finally came for Emmy to try on her new hot pink prosthetic hand.

Emmy said the first thing she will do with her new hand is ride her bike. She was able to close doors within minutes of putting on her new hand and hold her stuffed animal Twinkle Toes even tighter.

“We can’t give her a hand, so the fact that we’re able to give her the second best is really rewarding for me,” Hoffman said.

“As prosthetics advance, and as we provide her tools to use, she’s really going to reach new heights and she’s going to be limitless in what she’s able to do,” Shoemaker said.

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