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In 2005, Scott Anderson’s life took a drastic turn.
As the passenger of a motor vehicle on a friend’s property in the Adelaide Hills, an unfortunate driver error left Scott with no other option than to jump out of the vehicle, going at around 75 kilometres per hour. Rolling down a very steep heel, Scott ploughed through a gumtree that had fallen down many years ago.
“It snapped and twisted my foot off. It was a compound fracture where the bone was sticking out the side and my foot was rolled over the wrong way. I was awake and I remember the whole thing,” Scott said.
“I was in such a difficult location to get to that the CFS had to attend and it was five hours after the accident that I actually got onto a stretcher and into a four-wheel drive ambulance.”
After finally getting to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Scott’s foot was so swollen and “angry” he had to wait two weeks in hospital until he could have surgery. Following his surgery, Scott still found himself in agony.
“It was such a long recovery. I put on 25 kilos. My life just dropped off. You name a pain killer, I was on it,” Scott said.
“My son was born about six months after my accident and my daughter two years after that and you can’t hold your baby when you’re on crutches – it was such a struggle.”
After putting up with the pain for two years, Scott had two attempts at ankle infusions and unfortunately one was unsuccessful leaving him with bone spurs, arthritis and the onset of knee problems.
“At this point, I was begging them to chop my leg off. They didn’t take me seriously but I just wanted to get on with my life.”
After counselling and his wife Amie telling the health professionals that there was no choice but to remove Scott’s leg, Scott was finally scheduled to have his leg amputated.
“Amie really understood. I would just sit there for hours, looking at my leg and wishing it was gone. I knew what I was up for. I knew there would be a long recovery time and obviously a huge adjustment having a prosthetic leg,” he said.
In September 2010 Scott underwent a leg amputation at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
“I had to meet with the prosthetics team first, as I was electing for an amputation. This also meant that I did not instantly qualify for government assistance and would have to prove my worth for assistance from the Government,” he said.
“After the amputation, it was really weird. The first thing I did when I woke up was nearly hit myself in the head with what was left of my leg because it’s so light!
“I didn’t regret it, but I did hate looking at it. I was tentative to show my wife. The kids were ok – they knew I was getting a robot leg!”
Experiencing typical setbacks, Scott has now embraced the life of an amputee living his day-to-day life as an active father and hardworking employee in a Hydraulics manufacturer, all with a prosthetic leg from The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
“I’m so active again. Every night my kids and I go for bike rides and I also have a boat so I take them out fishing most weekends,” he said.
For Scott, the research need in the area of prosthetics is to have more of a tailored approach to patient care.
“For me as such an active person, giving me the same type of prosthetic leg that a 65-year-old man would have just didn’t work,” he said.
“I actually kept accidentally snapping the legs they would give me, that’s how much they didn’t suit my lifestyle. Finally, I got a titanium leg and I haven’t broken one of them yet.”
With a mechanical background, Scott has been able to offer feedback to the Prosthetics team, and help them also understand the need for further tailoring for patients.
“I think about all the other patients who would come in needing devices, and I want to make sure they are offered the best one to suit their needs.”
With a love of challenges and pushing himself to the limit, the future is looking bright for Scott.
“I can’t say I feel proud of myself, but I can say I’m proud of where I’ve come from. I got over the accident and I got my life back. I’ve gotten over the pain, the depression and anxiety and I’m back to the happy-go-lucky Scottie that I was before.”
You can find out more about the research the Prosthetics team at TQEH here and if you would like to be able to conduct and if you would like to provide support for research in this area, please contact us and we can chat to you about how you can make this a reality! Call 8244 1100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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While the field of Orthotics and Prosthetics may have come a long way over the past few decades, the need for ongoing research remains imperative. For Hannah Keane, Clinical Orthotist/Prosthetist at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH), the profession is full of rewarding experiences and with the help of future research, one she believes can continue to progress. read more