Journalist Miles O'Brien loses part of his left arm

9:34 PM, Feb 25, 2014   |    comments
Journalist Miles O'Brien
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(WXIA) - Former CNN journalist Miles O'Brien revealed on his blog Tuesday afternoon that he has lost much of his left arm after suffering from what a doctor said was Acute Compartment Syndrome.

O'Brien says a case filled with television equipment fell on his left forearm while he was on an overseas assignment earlier this month. He says that it hurt quite a bit and was swollen, but not a situation for medical intervention.

After a couple of days, when the swelling didn't go down, O'Brien says, he went to a doctor, who said he suspected Acute Compartment Syndrome - which, essentially is an increase in pressure within an area of the body. It can block blood flow and cause all manner of problems -- and can be life-threatening.

After being admitted to a hospital, O'Brien says the doctor recommended an emergency fasciotomy to help relieve some of the pressure. That procedure involves cutting the skin of a limb to expose the tissues beneath, in an effort to relieve pressure within. He says that during the surgery, complications brought about the need for drastic measures.

"I was told later that things tanked even further once I was on the table. And 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. He later told me it all boiled down to a choice...between a life and a limb," O'Brien said in the blog.

He says he is moving forward with his "new reality," and says he's sure he can cope fine.

O'Brien says he has been learning to deal with both the phantom pain that comes about after amputations, and dealing with daily life with one hand. He closes by saying that life is about playing the hand that is dealt you. He then jokes that he wishes life would "deal me another hand right about now - in more ways than one."

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