Kai Moeller

On an everyday Thursday in September 2018, Kai was looking forward to the upcoming weekend when a brief moment of inattention led to a tragic accident.

Kai, from Germany, is a trained plant and machine operator. At his company, a manufacturer of heat sinks and housing components, he operates the straightening bench which is used to shape aluminium parts into the correct form. As Kai talks about his job, you can tell that he loves his line of work. Having operated the straightening bench for over a year Kai is confident in his role and knows the job inside out.

With work and home life going well, Kai and his wife Nina decided to start a family. Soon anticipating the birth of their first child, due in the late summer of 2018, the couple spend their weekends preparing for the baby's arrival, unaware that soon things would change dramatically for the expectant father.

An accident with severe consequences

Looking forward to the upcoming weekend a brief moment of inattention leads to a tragic accident. The straightening bench pulls in his right hand along with a huge piece of aluminium. Even though Kai is quick to hit the stop button, his finger joints and skin suffer severe damage.

Kai doesn't feel any immediate pain due to severe trauma. Still in shock, Kai manages to ask a co-worker to call for an ambulance. Approaching the nearby hospital in the back of the emergency vehicle he finally let go of himself – willing to leave himself to the expertise of the medical staff. "I remember feeling quite confident that the people around me would do their best to save my hand.“

A partial amputation seems inevitable

When Kai was asked to sign a form to give his approval for a possible amputation, he realised that the damage to his hand might be more serious than he had hoped. "This was the point when my mind went into turmoil“, Kai recalls. "Hundreds of thoughts flashing through my head, most of them revolving around 'what if …?' For someone like me who earns a living as a craftsman and who was starting a family – the loss of or damage to my right hand might have meant the end of my career."

"Fear of the future was not something I was familiar with and on top of that, I was anxious to never be able to play my sport again. Friends and family have always known me as the most passionate handball player ever. Handball means a lot to me as it has been a constant for almost all my life. I played my way up pretty far in all the youth divisions and even met my wife Nina through it. We are both very committed to the sport and to this day I can't imagine having a life on the sidelines.“

5 minus 3 = 2

Waking up after the operation, Kai’s mind is spinning with one question. "As you might guess, I was eager to know the extent of the damage to my right hand" Kai recalls. "But of course, it was heavily bandaged so I couldn't see anything at all. My doctors kept assuring me that they had saved as much as possible and as a result of their surgical craftsmanship, I was able to keep my thumb and little finger - both fully functional - while my forefinger, middle, and ring fingers had to be amputated.“

“5 minus 3 = 2, but think about what is still possible.”

Kai Moeller

2019: Baby Moritz enters the world

After spending several weeks at a nearby rehab facility Kai was ready to pick up where he left off before the accident. With his amputation wounds healing well, the father-to-be gets home in time for the birth of his baby boy.

What were the options?

While still in the hospital, Kai had a meeting with the orthopaedic technicians who explained the different prosthetic fitting options for his hand. For the first time, he learnt about the difference between functional myoelectric fittings and purely cosmetic solutions.

 It was immediately clear to Kai that a cosmetic fitting was not suitable for him. "As someone who depends on 'functioning hands' for work, sports, and raising my children, I cannot do with a 'lifeless limb'. My vanity had to give way to rational considerations."

Kai initially focuses on the possibility of a myoelectric fitting which offers a range of functionalities. After a few fittings, however, he is not completely convinced by this solution.

MCPDriver™, the perfect solution

It was in the summer of 2019 and the time when the technicians of the Bochum Care Centre became aware of a new option in the field of hand prosthetics.

Not approved in Germany at the time, this mechanical partial-hand prosthesis developed in the U.S. called an MCPDriver offered what Kai had secretly hoped for. "As soon as I tried it on for the first time, I had goosebumps because it was immediately clear to me that the solution to my problem was here in front of me. Returning to my job was suddenly within reach. My partial-hand prosthesis with my remaining fingers, would support all the activities involved in my job."

 The robust MCPDriver is individually manufactured and attached to both the wrist and the residual digits. The special design of the prosthesis provides the user with a high degree of grip stability and enables the application of a variety of grasp and pinch patterns - from powerful gripping to typing on a keyboard.

"Because my MCPDriver is custom-made for me, the prosthesis is now an irreplaceable everyday tool. When I come home at night, I take off the prosthesis in seconds - just like you kick off your shoes after a long day at work“.

Everything is fine as it is

"It's important to tell others that a work accident like mine doesn't have to mean the end of the world. You can come to terms with many situations and end up living a normal life. Because of my sporting background, I'm a fighter, but I’m also blessed with a pretty positive outlook on life. I try to pass this on to others at every opportunity."

 As far as family life is concerned, with two lively toddlers in tow, Kai has no limitations when he is playing, swimming, or climbing with his children. The fact that their kids already have above-average motor skills is naturally a source of great joy to the sporty parents but it remains to be seen whether Moritz and younger sister Marleen (born in 2021) will be as enthusiastic about handball as their parents.

Everything is fine as it is!

Name: Kai Moeller
Occupation: Machine operator
Location: Germany

Playing handball
DIY activities
what i love
  • Enjoying time with my kids
  • Taking on new construction projects
  • Handball

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