$500k leg 'a life-changer'

By Rhys Chamberlain

Chris Campbell of Otago has received the latest, greatest, state-of-the-art, carbon-fibre prosthetic leg. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Chris Campbell of Otago has received the latest, greatest, state-of-the-art, carbon-fibre prosthetic leg. Photo / Otago Daily Times

It may have cost $500,000, but the recipient of a new leg believes the "complete life-changer" was money well spent.

Chris Campbell of Otago has received the latest, greatest, state-of-the-art, carbon-fibre prosthetic leg.

He is only the sixth person in the country with the upgrade.

The prosthetic will allow Mr Campbell to walk without crutches, with no rubbing, and will eventually mean he can get back to work after four years.

"It's a complete life-changer," Mr Campbell said. "It's unbelievable. I'm definitely more mobile.

"I've still got a bit more physio to go then we should be away laughing. Before the end of this year, I should hopefully be back to work.

"If someone wants to give me a job, that would be great."

Mr Campbell lost the lower part of his right leg in a truck crash four years ago. He has had 13 operations, and the road to his latest prosthetic has taken 10 weeks - from being approved, to arriving home from Christchurch Hospital six weeks ago.

The operation included having a titanium rod inserted into his thigh and a gold connection for the prosthetic, near where his knee used to be. Mr Campbell believes gold was used for its smoothness, stopping irritation inside his leg.

"This is what ACC is for and I'm grateful. It's totally new technology. I don't need crutches and I don't need nothing now."

The prosthetic weighs about 2kg, compared with a previous 8.5kg one.

It has different modes, which can be adjusted for a particular type of activity including skiing and cycling.

"I have been testing her up and down the block [and] people have been pretty interested in it."

Mr Campbell said he was walking about 4000 steps a day now and felt he would be walking "normally" by Christmas. Asked what he'd do with the clunky, earlier-model prosthetic, he said: "I'm going to put a pot plant in it. A $90,000 pot plant."

Photo / Otago Daily Times
Photo / Otago Daily Times

- Otago Daily Times

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