Vietnam Veteran gets new bionic hand

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He got home in one piece from the Vietnam War. Then an accident changed his life forever. (WLS)

He got home in one piece from the Vietnam War. Then an accident changed his life forever.

Now there's new technology one veteran says is helping him realize his full potential once again.

"I was an aircraft weapons mechanic," Vietnam Veteran James Wellman said. "I went in to the serve because at the time, they were drafting everybody.

James Wellman was drafted into the Air Force to fight in the Vietnam War at 21 years old. Now he's 72 and learning how to use a state-of-the-art bionic hand.

"I didn't lose any body parts in the Air Force. I managed to do this without being in a war zone," he said, pointing to his bionic hand.

A machinery accident robbed him of his right hand at 46 years old.

"I got a really good look at a few things I didn't want to see," Wellman said.

After petitioning VA doctors, he received the new bionic hand just last month.

At first, dealing with the amputation looked bleak, but Wellman says losing a limb doesn't have to be the end.

In fact for him, he says it was the beginning of realizing his full potential.

"Your expectations are, 'I can't do anything now,' but that's not the case," he said. "I thought there were a lot of things I wouldn't be able to do and then you start getting along with it. The list of things you didn't think you could do gets shorter. And pretty soon you throw it out. You can do what you want, it's just I do things differently."

Hanger Clinic Prosthetist Karen Pung has worked with James since he first started using the i-Limb quantum bionic hand.

"I don't know how to explain it, it's a really good feeling," Pung said. "It makes you get up in the morning to be excited to see people and see them be improved."

And it's clear James isn't letting anything stop him.

"It's mental. Physical strength has nothing to do with it," he said.
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