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Beyond her grasp… girl, 9, denied access to bionic ‘hero arm’

Fightback: Rinae lost
three limbs to
meningitis but has
learned to walk on
prosthetic legs PICTURES: SWNS

A GIRL of nine who lost both legs and her left arm to meningitis has been denied a bionic limb — made by a UK firm and on offer in France — because it is not available on the NHS.

Rinae Hedgecock dreams of getting dressed without help but has only a functionless plastic prosthetic and is also missing the fingers and thumbs on her right hand.

Bristol company Open Bionics has designed a £10,000 ‘hero arm’ that allows for precise and delicate movements that other prosthetic limbs cannot do.

No movement: Rinae dreams of replacing this false arm with a bionic version

But with the NHS yet to follow French health authorities by approving it for use, Rinae’s family have had to start a fundraising campaign in the hope of paying for it themselves.

Her bricklayer dad John said: ‘Rinae just wants to be independent.

‘She has adapted incredibly to her circumstances but the technology is there which is clearly better than what is on offer by our health service.’

Rinae was a healthy five-year-old when she complained she was aching while playing with friends at home in Eccles, Greater Manchester, in 2015.

Doctors found she had contracted a deadly strain of meningitis and, while she beat the odds to survive, her infected limbs had to be amputated.

She had physiotherapy to help her walk on prosthetic legs but single dad Mr Hedgecock, 39, said her false arm was no more use than a mannequin’s.

Open Bionics said it had managed to produce the arm within budget limits for prosthetics but NHS policy was not keeping up with technology. To give to Rinae’s appeal see