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PBS reporter Miles O'Brien recounts amputation



LOS ANGELES (AP) -- PBS science correspondent Miles O'Brien said Tuesday his left arm was amputated above the elbow after an apparently minor injury put his life in jeopardy.

In a blog post on his personal website Tuesday, which was verified by PBS, O'Brien recounted the Feb. 12 blow to his arm he suffered while on assignment in Asia and the medical emergency that followed.

He was diagnosed with "acute compartment syndrome," O'Brien said, in which blocked blood flow in an enclosed space in the body can cause life-threatening consequences.

Part of his arm was removed in a choice between "a life and a limb," O'Brien said, quoting his doctor. He is grateful to be alive, the PBS reporter said.

O'Brien has continued working despite the ordeal, PBS spokeswoman Anne Bell said.

The former CNN science and space correspondent covers science for "PBS NewsHour" and is a correspondent for public TV's documentary series "Frontline" and the National Science Foundation's Science Nation online magazine.

According to his blog, O'Brien was securing cases filled with camera gear on a cart as he wrapped up a reporting trip to Japan and the Philippines. One of the cases fell onto his left forearm, he wrote, adding, "It hurt, but I wasn't all `911' about it."

The arm was sore and swollen the next day but worsened on the next, Feb. 14, and he sought medical care. O'Brien did not detail where he was and PBS couldn't immediately provide the information.

At the hospital, as his pain increased and arm numbness set in, a doctor recommended an emergency procedure to relive the pressure within the limb, O'Brien wrote.

"When I lost blood pressure during the surgery due to the complications of compartment syndrome, the doctor made a real-time call and amputated my arm just above the elbow," O'Brien wrote.

He typed the blog post with one hand and help from speech recognition software, he noted, and ended it with dark humor.

"Life is all about playing the hand that is dealt you. Actually, I would love somebody to deal me another hand right about now - in more ways than one," O'Brien wrote.

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
ms.sammi February 27 2014 at 12:39 AM

Unimaginable. My sincere prayers goes out to him and his family. I'm not a physician but it all just seems so primitive SMH....... but glad he made it out alive. Could have been much worse, much worse.

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realrambo February 26 2014 at 2:16 AM

AOL HAS BECOME AN HEAVEN FOR SPAMERS ,
I GUESS THAT'S THE CEO WAY ON CUTTING COST ,
I AM READY TO CUT AOL OFF CANNOT HAVE A CHAT ROOM WITH ALL THAT GARBAGE .
IF YOU MADE MUILLIONS WOULD YOU TELL EVERYONE HOW TO DO IT SO THEY CAN CUT YOUR PROFITS .
yes all in caps .

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harleyman February 26 2014 at 12:52 AM

I'M SO SORRY 4 THE LOSS OF UR LIMB MILES , REALLY TOUGH DECISION 4 THE DR. 2 HAFT 2 MAKE IN THE MIDDLE OF AN OPERATION !! AS A GUITARIST , KEYBOARDIST , DRUMMER , ORGANIST , + A FEW OTHER INSTRUMENTS , ID B COMPLETLY LOST !! I WOULDN'T EVEN KNOW HOW 2 DEAL WITH SOMETHING LIKE THIS , BUT U , U IMMEDIATELY RETURNED BACK 2 WORK !! UR A REAL TROOPER MILES , MY HATS OFF 2 U !! I WISH U ALL THE BEST IN UR LIFE .

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DC February 25 2014 at 11:48 PM

AOL needs to filter out this 'ad crap'

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1 reply
John Schlobohm DC February 26 2014 at 5:25 AM

Agree !!

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azizakouda February 25 2014 at 11:48 PM

Soo sorry, great guy, extremely knowledgeable, best wishes Amigo.

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davidpl February 26 2014 at 12:15 AM

It is scary what can happen in a simple accident!

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CRPainter February 26 2014 at 12:54 AM

I fell down and broke my knee cap. The end result is, I lost my right leg above my knee. I was 92 yrs. old at the time. I am now 97 yrrs old and seem to be doing OK

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2 replies
believeudo CRPainter February 26 2014 at 1:19 AM

Wonderful for you CRPainter....continued success....you are 97, remarkable...

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1 reply
John Schlobohm believeudo February 26 2014 at 5:21 AM

Hope to see you still commenting on here when you reach your 100th birth day..!! C.R. Painter.

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algoresux CRPainter February 26 2014 at 3:19 AM

You sound like a remarkable man. If you made it this far, why don't you sigh up for Cryonics. Google is working to bring us household robots and self driving cars. We may be able to re grow limbs with #D printing. Alcor has Ted William suspended. Come back in the 22nd century and watch Ted take the field. My mom is suspended right next to Ted and she was a big baseball fan. Some day I hope to sit with her in the stands and see Ted go 5 for 5. Maybe he can play for the Yanks next time if the Communist mayor does not totally destroy NYC and turn it into a wasteland. Best wishes!

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Diana February 26 2014 at 12:11 AM

So sorry about his misfortune, he is a good correspondent. Wish him all the best, and he has a great sense of humor, too.

On another note, just want to add to AOL to please stop running the ads about from these fake people claiming they make a fortune on the internet. While there are real people who do make money working on the net, it just does not happen overnight or if you are homeless, lost your job 2 years ago, etc. Who cares? Most are fake liars anyway just looking for their 15 minutes of fame!

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2 replies
bonnieallmine Diana February 26 2014 at 12:13 AM

I don't think AOL does have a choice. I just flag them as abusive so AOL can remove them.

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1 reply
peteycat915 bonnieallmine February 26 2014 at 12:41 AM

Diana, I also flag them, but they seem to be kind of like dandelions---the more that you pick, the more come to take their place. I wonder if aol actually even notices when we flag them.

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viperbl Diana February 26 2014 at 2:16 AM

they're not "ads"

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parisgirl February 26 2014 at 2:36 AM

God bless and heal you Mr. O'Brien. I'm so sorry this has happened to you.
Some of the very best Dr's in the world -are Asians, and I'm sure he also consulted w/ your Dr and his hospital staff several x's, b/f they did this type of surgery.
For the nay sayers, look up "compartment syndrome" and follow it by going to medical school. Their are sooo many medical conditions that we've never heard of, and this seems to be one of them.
It will take time, but you will rise above it, Mr. O'Brien. You must be strong--it could have been much worse. Grieve, heal, and continue on with your life. So many are pulling for you.

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fred mosrie February 26 2014 at 12:01 AM

sad story. i hope you get well soon.

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