Science and technology journalist Miles O'Brien has revealed that doctors recently amputated his left arm above the elbow after a minor injury escalated into a serious medical emergency.
O'Brien, 54, details the painful ordeal in a blog post titled "Just A Flesh Wound" that was published on his personal website on Tuesday.
"I had finished my last shoot after a long reporting trip to Japan and the Philippines and was stacking the Pelican cases brimming with TV gear onto my cart," O'Brien writes. "As I tried to bungee cord them into some semblance of security for movement, one of the cases toppled onto my left forearm. ... It was painful and swollen but I figured it would be okay without any medical intervention. Maybe a little bit of denial?"
The injury got progressively worse, so he saw a doctor on Feb. 14.
"The doctor told me he suspected that I might be having an Acute Compartment Syndrome. I had to Wiki it, but in essence it is an increase in pressure inside an enclosed space in the body. This can block blood flow causing a whole host of serious, life-threatening consequences."
That's what led to the amputation.
O'Brien says he's feeling well, all things considered.
"So I woke up to a new reality in the hospital. It's been a challenging week dealing with the phantom pain, the vicissitudes of daily life with one hand and the worries about what lies ahead.
"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, who is a licensed pilot, was for many years the science, space and aviation correspondent for CNN. He is currently the science correspondent for PBS NewsHour, a producer and director for the PBS science series Nova, and a correspondent for PBS' Frontline.