Teacher makes 3D printed finger for bike crash teenager

Oliver Smith Image copyright Allen PR
Image caption Oliver Smith, 15, using his plastic finger made with his school's 3D printer

A teenager who lost the use of his right hand in a bicycle crash can type again after his teacher made him a plastic finger with a 3D printer.

Oliver Smith, 15, from Derbyshire, was told by medics he could have died after the accident just over six weeks ago.

The teenager "tore his arm apart" when the brakes failed on the bicycle he was riding and he crashed into a window.

Oliver's teacher made the finger after seeing him struggling to type, meaning he can now work towards his GCSEs.

Updates on this story and more from the East Midlands.

Image caption Oliver's arm was saved following two lengthy operations

Oliver had been trying to fix the brakes on his friend's bike prior to the crash.

In trying to stop the bike the teenager put his arms out and his right hand went through a glass window, severing a main artery and two arm nerves.

Doctors managed to save his arm but said he may only ever regain 40 to 70% of feeling in his right hand.

"I didn't feel it because my nerve had been cut. I just pulled my arm out but doing that tore my arm apart," Oliver said.

"My first thought was that I was going to die."

Image copyright Allen PR
Image caption Teacher James Wheldon (right) made the plastic finger using the school's 3D printer

James Wheldon, a design technology teacher at St John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy, Kirk Hallam, made the finger as Oliver is right handed and could not write.

The invention means he can now type with two hands to do his GCSE coursework. Next year he will have a scribe for his exams.

Mr Wheldon drilled a hole in the end of Oliver's splint and the finger attaches there.

Oliver, from Ilkeston, said: "It's made life much easier, although it's taken a while to get used to. I'm really grateful to him."

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