Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Police Chief Jane Castor gets prosthetic fingertip


When Tampa police Chief Jane Castor moves her hand, it is hard to spot the fake fingertip.

Her new silicon prosthetic, which fits on top of her right pointer finger, looks astonishingly like the rest. It even has a fingerprint that matches her other pointer's.

On Monday, Castor went to Westcoast Brace & Limb to pick up her just-finished prosthetic. She'd lived with a shortened finger for more than four months — ever since she accidently severed the tip just above her upper knuckle while on her boat.

She had to learn how to pull her sidearm and fire with her middle finger. She'd struggled with typing. She still hopes to learn how to play the piano.

"It looks good," Castor said, checking out her hand. "Actually, it's amazing."

The police chief has scoffed at the community's interest in her finger. She told reporters at a July news conference that the situation wasn't newsworthy.

But the science and art behind the prosthetic? That she likes.

She was so fascinated by it all that she brought her sons to Westcoast Brace & Limb on Sunday so that they could check out the in-house lab, where employees make braces and prosthetic parts from scratch.

They can make — or customize — whatever they want because of that lab, explained Westcoast's Jennifer Robinson. Recently, they built a specialized arm for a new mother so that she could safely lift her baby from its crib.

Robinson's husband, David Robinson, made Castor's fingertip. He has a bachelor's degree in studio art and can mold models and apply color theory to make prosthetics look real.

He made a plastic prototype for Castor based on the inverse of her left pointer finger. Then, with Castor sitting next to him last week, he mixed pigment with silicon and painted it to look like her other fingers. Then he added an acrylic nail.

"I can even paint it," the chief joked, knowing that's not her style.

Mostly, she's pleased she'll be able to type with ease again.

"That and picking things up — a lot of the functions you take for granted," she said. "I have that all back now. It's nice."

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

Police Chief Jane Castor gets prosthetic fingertip 11/04/13 [Last modified: Monday, November 4, 2013 10:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)


    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.
  2. Trump awards Medal of Honor to Vietnam-era Army medic (w/video)


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday turned a Medal of Honor ceremony for a Vietnam-era Army medic who risked his life to help wounded comrades into a mini homework tutorial for the boy and girl who came to watch their grandfather be enshrined "into the history of our nation."

    WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23:  Retired U.S. Army Capt. Gary Rose (L) receives a standing ovation after being awarded the Medal of Honor by U.S. President Donald Trump during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House October 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Rose, 69, is being recognized for risking his life while serving as a medic with the 5th Special Force Group and the Military Assistance Command Studies and Observations Group during ‘Operation Tailwind’ in September 1970. Ignoring his own injuries, Rose helped treat 50 soldiers over four days when his unit joined local fighters to attack North Vietnamese forces in Laos - officially off limits for combat at the time.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) 775062921
  3. Long day of diplomacy: Tillerson visits Afghanistan, Iraq


    BAGHDAD — Far from the Washington murmurs about his future, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to two of America's enduring war zones Monday, prodding leaders in Afghanistan and Iraq to reach out to longtime rivals.

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, center, speaks Monday at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, accompanied by Gen. John Nicholson, left, and Special Charge d’Affaires Hugo Llorens.
  4. Head-on crash kills Wesley Chapel teacher and Zephyrhills man


    TAMPA — Two men, including a high school math teacher, were killed Monday in a head-on crash on Morris Bridge Road, deputies said.

  5. Pinellas sees slight increase in black and first-year teachers


    A year after the Pinellas County school district was chastised in a state report for clustering inexperienced teachers in the state's most struggling schools, the district has reported a first look at its teacher corps.

    The Pinellas County school district has taken a first look at first-year teachers in struggling schools and minority hiring, both of which ticked slightly upward.