Last week, awful news broke that a thief had stolen the iPod Touch a wounded veteran used to control his prosthetic hand. To make matters worse, the San Antonio Express-News reported that the hand was programmed to work only with that gadget, so the government would need to buy him a whole new prosthetic that costs $75,000!
Major news organizations including Daily Mail and Houston Chronicle picked up on the story without doing much research. But, some readers thought it didn't make sense that a $75,000 hand would be tied to a single $240 iPod. We all know how fragile gadgets can be.
They were right, and it turns out the story is only half true. Sgt. Ben Eberle's iPod was stolen, but he can actually use his hand with any iPod Touch that has Touch Bionics' free i-Limb app, according to the manufacturer. Instead of just checking with Touch Bionics, these news outlets from all over ran with the story.
Eberle himself explained in a Facebook post this week that “I do not need a new hand. … It’s not that big of a deal.” He added, apparently referring to either the police or the media, “They just wanted another story about a wounded warrior.”
Hopefully these news outlets weren't trying to take advantage of the situation just to make headlines. We should be honoring our veterans, not taking advantage of their misfortune.
That doesn’t mean replacing the app won’t be an annoyance. While he can keep the same hand, it’s possible that he’ll have to reprogram some specific settings on his new device, said a spokesman for the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where Eberle is a patient. [Touch Bionics’ director of global marketing Karen] Hakenson said Touch Bionics was very sorry to hear that it was lost and plans to send Eberle a replacement iPod Touch for free.
I thank God for all our military, because there's no greater sacrifice than that given by the men and women in service to this country. Show a veteran you care today by giving to a charitable organization. You can also help support our active duty soldiers with Operation Komando.