The most seriously injured British soldier to survive an attack in Afghanistan has undergone a seven-hour operation on his spine in the hope that it will help him achieve his dream of walking again.
Paratrooper Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson suffered around 40 different injuries, including brain damage and losing both his legs, when his Land Rover was blown up in 2006.
The curve in his back has not only affected his walking but, for the first time in years, he has been complaining to his parents about being in pain, his family said.
Eight years ago the soldier had an operation to install screws and two rods in his back.
Unfortunately, his spine had since curved below these rods and this latest operation involved the surgeons putting new screws in at the bottom of his back and then adding length to the original rods.
After the operation, one of the surgeons, Alex Baker, told the BBC’s Inside Out:
“So far it’s looking pretty good. It’s looking fairly well-balanced. We’re very happy with the x-rays and how it all looks.”
LBdr Parkinson’s mother, Diane Dernie, told the programme that the operation was an important step. She said:
“This operation means everything to Ben. There are good medical reasons why it needs to happen but for Ben it’s all about the walking.”
Speaking as her son is taken into theatre, she said:
“I’m more nervous than he is, he’s cool as a cucumber. We’re in bits. I think no matter how old your kids are you never think this is what you are going to be doing.”
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