Charlotte gets her fourth set of new limbs

By Amanda Cameron

The detached fake leg on the floor of Auckland's Artificial Limb Centre could belong to a broken doll.

Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman, who last year lost both hands and both feet to meningococcal disease, barely notices the tiny, tanned limb as she clambers over it to reach the brightly coloured toys scattered nearby.

It is nearly a year since the then 7-month-old underwent surgery to remove her extremities after they were ravaged by meningococcal disease, and 8 1/2 months since she received her first set of prosthetic limbs.

Now 17 months old, the country's youngest-ever quadruple amputee is getting her fourth set of legs. Designed for function rather than form, Charlotte's new legs will be short, cylindrical stumps with a bevelled base to enable her to stand more easily.

Ms Cleverley is full of praise for the clinical prosthetists, but still grieves for her daughter's lost limbs.

"They're great designers. They're doing everything they can, but for me as a mother I want her rebuilt and I want her like she was.

"We want her to put the prostheses on just like you put your shoes on and just run off. I think that's when I'll be satisfied."

* Charlotte's story will feature on Inside New Zealand on TV3 on Thursday.

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