Tags: Miles OBrien | PBS | loses | arm | Asia

Veteran Journalist Miles O'Brien Loses Arm After Freak Accident

Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014 10:38 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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"Life is all about playing the hand that is dealt you," says PBS NewsHour science correspondent and former CNN anchor Miles O'Brien — and he wants "somebody to deal me another hand right about now" after losing his left arm to a seemingly minor accident while reporting in Asia.

O'Brien revealed the incident in a post Tuesday on his personal blog, saying he'd just finished shooting a segment in the Philippines and was packing his belongings on Feb. 12 when he dropped a Pelican case with TV gear onto his forearm.

It hurt, he said, but he figured "it would be OK without any medical intervention."

But two days later, on Feb. 14, his arm had swollen more, and he asked the hotel where he was staying to refer him to a doctor.

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The doctor had him admitted to a hospital, and "over the next few hours, I endured probably the longest, most painful experience I could ever imagine. My forearm developed some dusky discoloration, but more alarming was the numbness. I could not feel my forearm!"

An emergency procedure was recommended to relieve the pressure on O'Brien's arm. While he was on the operating table, the veteran journalist lost blood pressure because of  complications of acute compartment syndrome, an increase in pressure in an enclosed space in the body that can cause life-threatening consequences.

"The doctor made a real-time call and amputated my arm just above the elbow," O'Brien wrote. "He later told me it all boiled down to a choice . . . between a life and a limb."

O'Brien said he is working through his latest challenge, and jokes that he wishes he had a better story to tell about his misfortune.

"A shark attack would be interesting," he joked.






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