Machine helps spinal cord injury patients walk

Machine helps spinal cord injury patients walk
Carolina Hatton using Eksoskeleton
Carolina Hatton using Eksoskeleton

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A newly developed piece of equipment is helping people with spinal cord injuries stand up and walk for the first time in years.

The Eksoskeleton, made by Ekso Bionics, is a motorized bodysuit patients can strap on to sit up and start walking.

"It gives folks who are not able to stand another option," said UC Health physical therapist Paige Thomas.

"It's not going to 100 percent replace the wheelchair, at least right now."

Carolina Hatton, 22, is learning to walk with the Eksoskeleton, nicknamed by UC Health, as Emilio Eksoves.

Hatton was paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident in Florida two years ago.

"We woke up, we all screamed at the same time and next thing I know I'm like I can't feel my legs," said Hatton.

Hatton is able to use the device thanks to an anonymous donor who footed the $140,000 price tag.

Penny Pensak with the UC Health Foundation said philanthropy helps hospitals go above and beyond for its patients.

"The donor himself is somebody who had a spinal cord injury," said Pensak. "He brought the idea forward to the foundation at Drake and he said 'Well this would be great'."

Hatton uses the Eksoskeleton several times a week to increase her muscle strength and improve her balance.

"It's awesome that somebody actually still cares and that they are looking for someone to get better with this."

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