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Technology Helping Paralyzed Austin Man Walk Again


He calls himself Robo-Joe. An Austin man paralyzed for more than five years is once again learning how to walk.

Twice a week you'll find Joe Fischer walking the halls of St. David's Medical Center.

Not a miraculous feat by most standards -- but Joe is paralyzed.

"I was injured November 2009. I fell from a deer stand in my home state of Missouri. I broke four vertebrae in my back," he says.

But through a robotic suit of sorts -- called ReWalk -- Joe is back on his feet.

"The first time I saw it I thought this cannot be possible. Somebody that has no sensation in the legs there's no way they can use this device," he says.

Dr. Juan Latoree is the medical director of the spinal cord injury and amputee program at St. David's rehabilitation hospital. He's the reason ReWalk is here.

"So it senses your balance and when you're displacing it and then when it senses you're going forward it takes a step," he says. "They can go up and down ramps, they can go up and down stairs. It's really quite amazing what this suite can do."

The benefits are pretty amazing too. Better bone density, muscle tone, control of body function.

While just two people have used the suit so far St. David's will soon expand, giving more people access to this potentially life changing experience.

ReWalk is already approved for home use in Europe but not in the U.S. Dr. Latorre expects that to change later this year.

By Ericka Miller

Technology Helping Paralyzed Austin Man Walk Again

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