Alan Newey weight arm

Alan’s Bionic Arm

Safety Speakers

NOTE….Alan’s Bionic Arm blog started in July 2015 and as you scroll down you will see regular updates.

The latest is August 2016

Hello everyone from the Alfred Hospital,

Day 1 Friday 12th June 2015

I arrived on Friday 12th June for the first stage of a bionic arm build that has been in the planning for 2 years. After all the checks and to see if I was of sound mind and they we satisfied it was me, we went down to surgery around 7.30am.
I had a chat with the surgeon and a very nice looking anaesthetist, pity l did not look my best.
The operation took about 5 hours and the surgeon was very happy with the outcome as was l.
Later that afternoon I tried to eat a little as I felt great, but as soon as I took a bite I started to feel funny. The next thing I know there is a  nurse in front of me asking me questions which I did not answer I just stared with a very blank look and went all clammy.
The nurse called a Code Blue and I had a dozen people over me.
My blood pressure dropped to very low levels I think it was 80 over 40.
I was ordered to lay in bed and not move.
Sleeping that night was fun l was ordered to sleep on my back, normal sleep on my right side but due to taking bone out of my left hip and operating on my right stump l had no choice.

Alan Before Operation


Day 2 Sat June 13th 2015

After breakfast
The entire day was recovery mode.
I was allowed out of bed as the more movement I did meant I could go home quicker.
Had to be mindful of a draining tube on my left hip less than 30 mil in 24h meant I could go home. Unfortunately to much drainage.

Day 3 Sun June 14th 2015

The same as day 2 with more movement.
I have my moments with pain but not as bad as I thought it would be, itchiness is my enemy as you cannot scratch anything.
The drainage has become the main problem for me to go home as it is still too high.

Day 4 Mon June 15th 2015

Nothing has changed as previous days, drainage is an issue and cannot go home until under control. Nights 2 onwards sleep has been a shocker, not from being kept awake with nurse checks or patient noise, a combination of walking the corridors at night from being restless and the 7 helicopters the have landed with more accident victims.

I wish to thank all the people who have sent the regards to Kathy and I as it is comforting you have people who care.

How do you thank the person who means the most to you.
Kathy has been in everyday, l tell her not to but she keeps showing up.
It is the same thing, I have everyone looking after me Kathy soldiers on.

Just think this whole process could have been prevented with an $800 guard.
The accident took a second in time, how many seconds since Sept 1999.
It is a very exciting time for the new bionic arm, but how many seconds will be lost in hospital over the next 18 months instead of enjoying a normal everyday life.



It has been 6 weeks since the operation and we have had Royal District Nurses Service call in for last 3 weeks. That in itself is so frustrating because you are given a 4 hour time span on when they will arrive. So you spend your time waiting and waiting.

After the nurse changes the dressing you hope it stays on, but on most occasions it fell off within hours and my wife had to reapply.  The dressing is required as I was still bleeding for weeks after leaving hospital. I hated this even though Kathy(the better half) said it was fine, I saw it as another task she had to help with….since this accident was never on our future plans.

We went to the Alfred Hospital Plastics unit every week after for rehab, redressing, checking for infections. And after 4 weeks the removal of stiches.

I had to see my prosthetic team on the 21st July, as a result of the operation the size of stump has changed, which means you have to be recast in plaster.

This is so they can make temporary sockets for the stump and cover the stump in a silicon glove so it squeezes the stump into a shape for Stage 2 Operation.

Kathy and I will see the surgeon in 6 weeks to discuss the format for operation 2 which is due in November but if I had my way the surgery would be done now, but I’m told it is a long slow process and I must be patient.

I have refused the pain killers offered with the recovery as I have seen firsthand what damage they can do and I cannot risk medication changing me like before and almost costing me my family.

This whole process is exciting for the future, but so frustrating and such a waste of time considering the workplace accident was so easily preventable.

To everyone out there, thank you for your support but all I want is for all to take safety seriously and go home safe.

Stay Safe




At last we have a date for the second CHOP CHOP operation. December 11th I will be going in for the second operation in the bionic arm rebuild

This is where the surgeon will again open the end of the stump, reshape it, insert a titanium abutment, which will stick permanently out of the skin by 30 to 40 mil.

Once healed the process really begins with weekly visits to the hospital to monitor the weights that will be attached to the stump.

This is to build up the bone strength so we can attach the bionic limb.

The surgeon told me they are not far away from doing brain surgery where they install a computer chip to talk to the hand.

Now it is scary but exciting.


After the latest operation on Dec 11th it could have not gone better.

The surgical team installed the second titanium rod, bolt and reshaped the stump.

There have been no complications like what was experienced in first operation.

In fact the nurse had to tell me I was to stay in bed and not go down stairs for a cappuccino

only 2 hours after the operation. All I have felt is some slight discomfort, with some itchiness which drives you nuts.

During this process some reality set in, that the operation felt so good, the surgeon had to remind me I still have a long way to go and you have just had a major operation.

I have an appointment on Jan 27th to plan the next step.

This will include weekly or fortnightly visits to hospital for weight training, where they add weights to the bolt to strengthen the bones for the robotic arm.

On Jan 27th we will also be discussing another operation where the surgeon can cut my bicep & triceps into 4 quarters which will give me 4 live signals to give me greater control and individual finger movement.

There is still a way to go but getting closer everyday.

The BoltThe Bolt 2



MARCH 2016

Hi everyone first I just want to thank everyone for their well wishes on this path of building a new bionic arm.

On Wednesday 9th March I was called into the Epworth Rehab Centre for a follow up and told to bring my new weight kit
for my stump so we could attach it to the external socket.
I was shown how to add just 50 grams to the top of the rod and everyday move the weight down the rod to create a heavier weight.
Every Wednesday I must know go into the rehab hospital and produce a spread sheet on any pain or sensations my stump and bone give me.
I can tell you the first time we added a weight my phantom thumb tried to wrap around the rod.
This process will go on for 12 weeks and if all goes well I should have 1.2 kilos hanging of my stump in that time.
When the stump can hold the weight we can progress to the next stage of a training arm before the main arm can be installed.
I have given the green light for my team of professionals to go for (TMR) Targeted Muscle Reinnervation
If all comes together I should be the first person in Australia they have tried this on.

For now it is a very time consuming commitment but never loose site of this should never have happened in the first place over 16 years ago.
What my family, friends, workmate’s and myself went through was preventable.

On the plus side I have come across a new career and it is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done, visiting workplaces across Australia showing what can happen when we don’t respect safety. My drive is to visit even more sites hoping to make a difference and people go home safe to their loved ones.


August 2016 

Well I got home 4pm yesterday, after being in hospital for 6 days having surgery. I was supposed to be there for 2 to 3 days.  Surgeons have told me I won’t be using any weights on the stump or using the stump in general for 6 weeks. I see the surgeon end of August for a update for what is coming but he did tell me of a possible nerve Bluetooth operation. (I’m in)

When they went in the surgeon was shocked to find there was no muscle or nerve there. One of the sites needed was completely torn out but lots of scare tissue which gave the impression all was right to go.  He then found a nerve site high up, rerouted a nerve from under the arm pit and had no trouble with the bicep area. Because of the surgeons skill he turned a bad situation into a workable one, I now have 3 sites for connection.

The operation took just on 8 hrs when all involved allowed 3 to 4 hours as it was supposed to be an easy routine operation according to all the tests and MRI.
Six months of training will commence asap and in fact I have been given brain training to do at home which is sending electric shocks down the stump just by thinking different commands.

Now I’m at home and bloody fidgety, the area between the right shoulder and neck is bloody tight, would love some physio but I don’t think the surgeon would like that.

Guess it is something I must put up with for a while.


Alan Newey, amputation, bionic arm, safety speaker
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