Few injuries in the world are more painful and can cause permanent disfigurement and disability than burns do. Severe burns create lifelong challenges to those who survive them – especially when the survivor is a child.
KCOY12 reports that one victim, a 10-year-old Los Angeles boy who was burned over 85% of his body and took nine of his fingers, will be receiving a pair of prosthetic hands from a team of Cal Poly students. The students and his family are hopeful it can improve the quality of life for Julian Reynoso.
Julian’s painful journey began when a drunk driver hit the minivan he was traveling in with his family. The vehicle caught fire and bystanders were able to get Julian and his mother from the burning vehicle but were unable to save Julian’s father and three of his siblings.
Ryan Kissinger, a member of the Quality of Life Plus (QL+) club at Cal Poly became aware of Julian’s needs and worked with a team of seven other students from the University’s mechanical, biomedical and electrical engineering programs to create a set of prosthetic hands for Julian.
Kissinger started a GoFundMe page to raise $5,000 to help fund the project. The team reached the goal within 48 hours of the campaign’s launch.
The team made molds of Julian’s hands and created computer-generated models to make a personalized solution for him. This was to ensure that Julian could regain at least some of his manual dexterity. The team had to also face a set of challenges to the project that presented itself: Julian is young and still growing and because the healing process for burn patients causes constant changes, the prosthetic hands that the team was creating also had to be changed.
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Kissinger likened creating prosthetic hands for Julian to attempting to drink water from a firehose. “There are so many different components and so many different things to focus on.” Even with the constant need for change to meet Julian’s needs, Kissinger and his team are impressed with Julian’s positive outlook.
Fellow team member and engineering student, Austin Conrad of Colorado said that the goal is to not only create something that makes Julian’s life better, it’s also to show that there are people out there who care and want to ensure that Julian and those like him can have a better future.