Keith Thomas got a new lease on life after his accident when a groundbreaking surgery put microchips in his brain.
Artificial Intelligence has changed the world as we know it. Its rapid advancements have made humans hopeful that barriers that were in the past impossible to cross will be overtaken. The focus of this hope is landing majorly on the medical community. The medical community has been at work integrating AI tools for a long time in order to cure trickier ailments. One of those ailments is paralysis and, according to a recent report by NBC New York, the future looks bright in this area. Keith Thomas had the trajectory of his entire life change because of AI as he regained movement after three years of paralysis.
This procedure is not only pathbreaking for Thomas but also for the millions of people who are going through the same condition. Thomas, after a pool incident 3 years ago, became quadriplegic and, with a surgery that integrated AI, has regained movement in his arms and hand. He emotionally conveyed "Now I can reach to my cheek, reach to my chin."
His life changed for the worse when he broke his neck while in the pool. After the accident, he had to undertake rigorous therapy in order to recover from the injuries. His sister Michelle Bennet described the journey, "It was always one step forward, two steps back. We were just praying for his survival."
The situation was such that Thomas' family had no hope of him ever gaining any movement in his limbs and just prayed that he comes out of this alive. It was Bennet that undertook the responsibility of looking after her brother and giving him round-the-clock care. This made their bond stronger and the first touch that Thomas wanted to feel was that of his sister. This breakthrough procedure has filled him with more zeal for life. He says, "Now I'm just waiting to regain more strength so I can wipe the tears away from my eyes."
Thomas is thankful to the Northwell Health team for giving his life a new direction. In his speech, he broke down while talking about the impact they were making on his life by helping him regain his movement. Chad Bouton, of the Institute of Bioelectric Medicine, is proud of this achievement by medical science and expresses its significance by saying, "Keith is a true pioneer here, doing something that hasn't been done before." Bouton is the leader of the clinical study whose objective is to help people like Thomas overcome their paralysis.
Thomas underwent a 15-hour surgery in March in which doctors surgically put five microchips in his brain. The AI helped in connecting his brain with the spinal cord and eventually the rest of his body. Dr. Ashesh Mehta, who was one of the specialists doing the surgery, explained that for a part of the procedure, the patient was awake and could feel his thumb and fingers. He explained how an electronic bridge bypassed Thomas' injury.
Dr. Mehta was himself pleasantly surprised at the result and expressed, "I didn't think that was possible at first, all this movement. Going forward I'm thinking maybe it is." As far as post-op is concerned, Thomas is doing much better in terms of movement. The successful procedure has reignited the hope for a better life for Thomas and his family.