NPF Sends Shout Out To Miles O'Brien

The National Press Foundation Wednesday night sent a shout-out to former CNN science and space correspondent Miles O'Brien, recovering from a freak accident three weeks ago that cost him his left arm just above the elbow.

No mention was made of the accident at the National Press Foundation dinner in Washington, but best wishes were relayed from the dais.

O'Brien, now science correspondent with PBS' NewsHour, was in Japan covering the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster when a heavy equipment case fell on his left arm as he was packing up.

"Ouch! It hurt, but I wasn't all '911' about it. It was painful and swollen but I figured it would be okay without any medical intervention," he blogged. "Maybe a little bit of denial?"

He turned out to have acute compartment syndrome, which can happen with crush injuries. Doctors attempted an emergency procedure to relieve the pressure, but his left arm had to be amputated. "[I]t all boiled down to a choice…between a life and a limb," said O'Brien, who was even able to joke about what was obviously no laughing matter. "Life is all about playing the hand that is dealt you. Actually, I would love somebody to deal me another hand right about now – in more ways than one."

In a story CNN did on the incident, the network pointed out that O'Brien while at CNN had done a story about space-age prosthetics and quoted an O'Brien interview with WUSA TV Washington. "If nothing else, this is a great opportunity for me to buy some really cool new gadgets, right?"

O'Brien's fighting spirit and humor impressed Daily Beast blogger Kevin Bleyer, who marveled this week: "[T]o see Miles take something so devastating in stride, so quickly, with such humor, makes even the knee-jerk jokester in me awestruck, and jealous. I look at how Miles has responded to his life changing so drastically, and I tell myself, I wish I could do that.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.