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61-year-old Beaumont man receives bionic fingers - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

61-year-old Beaumont man receives bionic fingers

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A daily struggle is over for a Beaumont man who spent the past six decades without any fingers on his right hand, thanks to a set of bionic fingers.  His grand children describe him as half man half robot just like the Six Million Dollar Man.

But Richard Brocato didn't always have this high tech machinery.

"Got picked on a lot by kids, that was the toughest part," said Brocato.

Born with no fingers on his right hand Brocato struggled for the last 61 years learning to adapt to life using one hand, with the need for two.

"Cutting anything with a knife, you know, trying to hold a fork and cut with a knife you just can't hardly do it," said Brocato.

Everyday tasks that the rest of us may take for granted, like tying shoes or opening a bottle, were almost impossible for him.

"The major tasks I learned to adapt," said Brocato, "like picking up boxes or something, but the small tasks are the ones that really make you mad."

About four months ago Brocato came into LeTourneau prosthetics for a device to help him with his golf game but Tom LeTourneau introduced him to something even better, bionic fingers.

The I-Touch Digits system is one of the highest advancements in prosthetics in the 21st century. When Brocato moves the muscles in his arm, the fingers move. With a slight flick of the wrist the fingers open and then close.

"Up until this point it was strictly limited to soldiers but about a year or so ago they started opening it up to the general public," said LeTourneau.

And last week Brocato went to Ohio and was fitted for the life changing prosthetic.

"It's as close to a miracle you can see that's man made," said LeTourneau.

On Friday Brocato brought home his brand-new fingers and thumb now he's looking forward to the little things.

"It's pride I guess because I can do stuff with this hand that I couldn't do before," said Brocato.

LeTourneau says Brocato is the only person born without fingers to have the I-Digits system in all of Texas and Louisiana.

Brocato says his insurance covered the cost of the bionic fingers which he estimates to be more than $120,000. 

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