A surgeon who lost both of his legs in a plane crash and now has to spend his days walking around in an apron has told The Irish Time how his life has changed.
The Irish Times can reveal that Dr. Michael Ryan, a neurosurgeon from Dublin, lost both legs to a plane explosion in 2010 and was forced to spend the next six months on crutches.
The accident left him unable to move his legs for months and left him without his left arm.
Mr Ryan now has an arm and a leg but says he is unable to walk without painkillers because of the amputations.
Mr and Mrs Ryan’s story has been covered in The Irish News on several occasions and has been published on the website of the National Association for Rehabilitation of the Hand, which has been supporting Dr Ryan.
However, it was the publication of his memoir that has sparked a debate in the medical community about the risks of amputation.
“I was born with an arm but my mother said it was a part of me, so I had to have it amputated,” Dr Ryan told The Independent.
“The doctors in the intensive care unit were horrified when I told them I was going to have a prosthetic limb.”
Dr Ryan was born in Dublin, where his father worked in the car industry, and his mother, who is a retired teacher, also worked in hospital care.
The family moved to Ireland with their two children and lived in a hostel while they were in school.
He grew up in a large, old house with a garden.
“My mum would walk up and down the front steps,” he said.
“She would have her little girl’s shoes and a few shirts and she would wear her coat with the sleeves rolled up.”
It was a very different life to the life we were living at the time.
“Dr Johnson’s father was also a hospital administrator and he grew up working in the same building as his son.”
He had the same job as me, and I was a nurse,” he recalled.”
As we got older he moved to a more central part of the hospital and I stayed there.
“It was there, when he was about 18, that his mother started to feel the effects of the accident.”
After the accident, I went to a specialist who gave me the first painkillers I had ever used and it helped me get through the next two weeks,” he told The Times.”
A few weeks later I got a CT scan that showed I had lost both my legs, and then I got to the specialist and they said I had both legs amputated.
“Then, in May, the accident happened again.
My leg had been amputated in two places and my right leg had gone too.”
At that point I had no other option.
It’s been an awful four years.
“Dr Brendan O’Connor, a paediatric surgeon at Trinity College, Dublin, who also works with Mr Ryan, said he was saddened by his loss.”
Michael is a very gentle man and he has a great sense of humour, he’s very much into sport and is a wonderful husband and father,” he added.”
There’s no doubt that his recovery has been hugely successful.
“But he is a man who has to put his own life first and he’s always looked at the consequences of his actions.”
Mr O’Connor said he hoped that his story would encourage other people with amputations to make the same decision.
“When you lose a limb, it’s a great feeling and you think about all the other people who will go through the same thing.
It makes you feel like you’re a hero, like you can do it,” he explained.”
You can’t give up, and that’s a very big difference.”
Dr O’Connell said he thought the decision was a difficult one.
“One of the problems with amputation is it’s never as easy as it looks.”
With the right advice, it will be better and you won’t have to go through what we did, which is a traumatic experience,” he warned.”
That’s a big thing that people don’t understand about amputations and it’s one of the reasons why they don’t do it.
“If you don’t have the right diagnosis, and the right rehabilitation, it can be devastating and that can be really hard.”
Dr Anthony Devereux, an emergency consultant with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said amputation was not a “silver bullet”.
“When I have had an amputation it’s often in a traumatic or unexpected way, it usually happens when people are really young and are not yet ready for it,” Dr Devereaux told The Ireland Times.
Dr Devereix said that while people who had amputations should have the option to choose not to have one, people should not be discouraged.
“Don’t think it’s your fault, just have a look at the situation,” he advised.
“In some cases, it might not be the right choice,