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Paralysed Bromley man walks again thanks to ‘life-changing’ exoskeleton suit

PUBLISHED: 10:39 10 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:39 10 March 2017

Mr Dunca in the ReWalk suit

Mr Dunca in the ReWalk suit

Archant

Gheorghe Dunca, 42, used compensation money to pay for the suit which he’ll be able to use until he’s 60

Mr DuncaMr Dunca

A disabled man who was told he’d never walk again has taken his first steps.

Gheorghe Dunca, 42, from Bromley in Greater London, was left paralysed from the waist-down and needing to use a wheelchair, after he fell nine metres while working as a labourer in 2011.

After specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell helped him secure funding for a robotic suit, Mr Dunca is now able to go for a stroll around his local park, and says it is difficult to explain how much the gadget has changed his life.

The ReWalk suit is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI) to stand upright, walk, turn, and climb and descend stairs.

Mr DuncaMr Dunca

The motorised device, which is started by tilting the body forwards, has a battery-powered system which controls movement using subtle changes in the user’s centre of gravity and mimics the natural gait of the legs.

Specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, Chani Dhaliwal, helped Gheorghe secure an interim payment from his former employers, Habitat Developments Ltd, to purchase the ReWalk device,

In January 2017 the case was settled and the provision of the ReWalk was provided until Mr Dunca is 60.

Mr Dhaliwal said: “Technology can play a vital role in the lives of people with disability but it is constantly changing and improving.

“The process of a legal case following an injury is to try as much as possible to return the injured person to their original lifestyle and while an exoskeleton suit may not be appropriate for everyone, it uses cutting edge technology which has been integral to improving Gheorghe’s quality of life and independence.

“Although nothing can turn back the clock and undo Gheorge’s injuries, we’re glad that the funding that we were able to help secure for him has gone a long way to helping him get the rehabilitation and private care he needs to get his life back on track, as much as it is possible.”

Mr Dunca uses the device most days and is becoming more and more independent and adept at moving around.

He said: “When I found out that I would be unable to walk and in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, I was devastated. I’d always loved travelling and I had a physical job. The accident took that all away from me.

“Getting my own ReWalk has absolutely changed my life again, it’s given me hope for the future and some of my freedom back. I can walk about 1.5km in an hour–and-a-half and I’m improving all the time. I feel happy and normal again when I use ReWalk.

“You might take it for granted but being able to simply walk around the park is an amazing experience after having to use a wheelchair. As I become more experienced using it, I’m looking forward to seeing where my new legs will take me.”

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