Atlanta Hospital First To Use Exoskeleton Built For Children

Science fiction is meeting reality at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where the pediatric hospital has become the first in the country to use a new exoskeleton in a pediatric rehabilitation environment.

In cases of complete paralysis, an exoskeleton can help, at least partly, power an immobile arm or leg. A number adult facilities have been working with exoskeletons for some time, but Children’s Healthcare is the first in Atlanta to get an exo suit by Ekso Bionics.

What this suit does is allows kids to get up and start moving quicker – maybe earlier than they’s be able to after an injury, Erin Eggebrecht, a physical therapist with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Center for Advanced Technology and Robotic Rehabilitation said during an interview on “A Closer Look.”

The first exoskeletons were made for paralyzed patients. “Now we can also work with individuals that have some movement in their limbs.”

Eggebrecht has been using the exo suit for the past month in therapy with 18-year-old Chip Madrin. At 13 the teenager was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, he was unable to walk, talk or even swallow for months.

Chip has undergone intensive rehabilitation over the past several years, and has since regained his motor skills, according to the hospital. Using the exoskeleton, Chip is able to get up and walk with a normal gait pattern.

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