Stu Chase was a college student working at a sawmill when his accident happened almost 21 years ago. He remembers the day so vividly even though two decades have passed. “I was pushing the wooden board when the automatic hydraulic on the machine suddenly engaged and trapped my left hand,” Stu recalls.
He was airlifted to the hospital and the surgeon spent 22 hours trying to reattach his index and middle finger, but after two weeks those digits died and he eventually had to go through detachment surgery.
Not too long after he was released from the hospital, Stu conducted his own research into prosthetic solutions available to finger amputees. He was disappointed to learn that, at that time, his options were incredibly limited compared to those who have had full hand/arm amputations. The futuristic engineering and advance designs he thought was an option for him just didn’t exist for partial hand and finger amputees. Yet.
Learning and Adapting
For two years until he graduated college, he did a combination of physical, occupational, and hand therapy. He also attended a hand clinic that assisted him in regaining flexibility on his hand and fingers and minimizing the sensitivity on his residua through a variety of exercises.
One of the biggest things he learned and one that we say very casually is that patience is key. Like many amputees, Stu had to adapt and reassess his future. At the time, he was playing volleyball for his school and studying to become a journalist. Due to his injury, he wasn’t able to continue as a student athlete and even had to drop a few classes.
As he was nearing the end of his college journey, a friend suggested that he pursue a career in marketing and communications instead of the hectic and stressful environment of a newsroom. What started as an 18-month contract in the communications department at a worker’s compensation organization turned into a 20-year career.
Stu now works as the Director of Marketing for the Make-a-Wish British Columbia and Yukon Canada Chapter.
Finding Naked Prosthetics
In August of 2019, Stu met with his prosthetist (CP) to work on a rowing prosthesis for his hand. Due to Stu’s active lifestyle and call for corresponding devices, he has become somewhat of an expert in specialty prostheses for specific activities. When his CP introduced him to Naked Prosthetics as an option, it was the wearer testimonials that truly got his attention. Two months later he was back in his CP’s office to take measurements and create a mold of his affected hand.
Finally Getting his MCPDriver
“The day I received my device, I just felt so confident. I went straight to the grocery store and grabbed everything I could using my MCPDriver. The effect was instantaneous,” says Stu. “The whole process of getting my new fingers was exciting for my whole family and my kids were especially excited to see their Bionic Dad,” Stu adds.
He can now easily use his ticker when driving and round doorknobs are no longer burdensome.
In a special and emotional video Stu created, he says, “It’s a game changer for me. 20 years ago, as a freshly injured kid walking into a prosthetist’s office and being completely disheartened about what was available to help replace my fingers. Now, I finally have something that makes me feel like I have a bit of a whole hand again.”