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‘The pioneering surgery that rebuilt my body’ .

Discussion in 'RM Public Relations' started by Rover, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. Rover

    Rover Moderator

    Oct 23, 2008
    How hours of painstaking experimental surgery rebuilt the body of a young Royal Marine injured by an IED blast in Afghanistan

    24 April 2019

    In May 2011 Royal Marine JJ Chalmers was seriously injured by an explosion in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

    “I remember being on my back in more pain than I’ve ever experienced”, he recalled on Stark Talk. “I felt like I’d been crushed.”

    “Both my arms had more or less come off. My right arm just wasn’t there at the time, my left hand had lost all of its fingers. The next thing I remember is just feeling completely helpless.”

    ‘The pioneering surgery that rebuilt my body’

    Former Royal Marine JJ Chalmers underwent numerous operations following an IED blast.

    JJ was put into an induced coma at Camp Bastion hospital then flown to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where he was roused almost a week later.

    There isn’t a textbook for this, but once we’ve done you, there will be

    “By the time I’d woken up they’d effectively done most of the orthopaedic work in terms of rebuilding the physical structure of my body. My elbow had been absolutely decimated but they managed to piece it back together like a jigsaw and screw it all together using plates.

    “They didn’t know if that was going to work or not, but as somebody did once say to me, ‘The problem is, there isn’t a textbook for this, but once we’ve done you, there will be’.

    The forefront of medicine

    JJ has undergone an extraordinary amount of reconstruction at “the absolute forefront of medicine”. Some surgeries have involved removing skin from his stomach and reattaching it elsewhere.

    “Most of my torso is missing,” he said. “It looks like I’ve been bitten by a shark! But that’s because those nice pieces of fleshy skin now live on my elbow.

    JJ is aware his body now looks far from perfect. “I’m very grateful that I didn’t come away from this hugely disfigured on my face, but actually this whole thing is function over form.”

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