Journalist Miles O’Brien Back At Work After Losing An Arm


screenshot: PBS NewsHour

PBS science correspondent and aviation reporter Miles O’Brien lost most of his left arm recently after a freak accident while on assignment in the Philippines, but last week he was back at work and making plans to fly again. In an interview with Judy Woodruff, O’Brien said he has already spoken to doctors about the options for prosthetics. “I was at the National Rehabilitation Hospital the other day,” he told Woodruff, “and I said, I really like to ride my bike. I like to fly airplanes. And I want to be able to get back to shooting video. Those are my three big criteria. They were like, ‘Oh, no problem. We have attachments for all of that.’ Its like Inspector Gadget or something. And so part of my science and technology mind as a reporter is thinking, this is kind of interesting, how all this works.”

O’Brien wrote in his blog that he dropped a heavy camera case on the arm while traveling last month, and by the next day, the pain and bruising convinced him to see a doctor. He was sent to emergency surgery, hoping the arm could be repaired, but woke to found it was gone. O’Brien told Woodruff that sadly, the technology for amputees has advanced in recent years because of the many soldiers returning from wars abroad with lost limbs. “But I, fortunately, will benefit from some of that technology,” he said. O’Brien worked for CNN for 17 years, where he covered the space shuttle program and the X Prize competition, and he reported in depth on the Colgan Air crash for PBS. He spoke with AVweb about his work as an aviation reporter in a 2009 podcast.