Pair of extension prostheses, 1966.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 26cm x 32cm

Pair of extension prostheses, 1966.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


This pair of extension prostheses was made by Hanger and was supplied to a four year-old boy born with shortened limbs, due to his mother being prescribed the thalidomide drug during pregnancy. These prostheses consist of blocked, open-ended ischial tuber-bearing sockets. The one-piece legs are mounted on aluminium attached to wooden feet without ankle joints and are covered with leather imitation shoes. Thalidomide was introduced in 1957 and prescribed to pregnant women to combat morning sicknes. When taken during the first trimester of pregnancy it prevented the proper development of the foetus. This led to birth defects in thousands of children around the world in the late 1950s and early 1960s, who became known as 'thalidomide babies'.

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