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'Sitting socket' mounted on a toy dog, Roehampton, England, 1966

Phocomelia is characterised by extremely short lower limbs. This ‘sitting socket’ was designed for a child from six to twelve months who had the condition. It helped get the child used to a sitting position. Phocomelia makes this difficult to do naturally. It also got them used to wearing artificial limbs. The child would be fitted with these later. The socket is mounted on a toy dog. It is made of durestos. This is a type of asbestos. Asbestos is a dangerous substance which can cause fatal respiratory diseases. It was banned in the 1990s. The socket was made by Hanger Orthopaedic Group in 1966. Their workshops were at Queen Mary’s Hospital in west London.

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Glossary: prostheses

Artificial body parts, or materials inserted into tissue for functional, cosmetic, or therapeutic effect. Prostheses can be functional (artificial arms and legs), or cosmetic (artificial eye).

Glossary: artificial leg

A device, either external or implanted, that substitutes for or supplements a missing or defective part of the body.