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Quadruple amputee Mick O'Dowd's courageous fight against a flesh-eating bacteria that almost took his life

Climbing metaphorical mountains

August 2019

Quadruple amputee Mick O'Dowd's courageous fight against a flesh-eating bacteria that almost took his life

Quadruple amputee Mick O'Dowd's courageous fight against a flesh-eating bacteria that almost took his life

Mick O'Dowd was admitted to Concord Hospital almost eight months ago with an infection which would cost him all four limbs - and almost his life.

On Boxing Day 2018, doctors discovered a necrotising myositis, or flesh-eating bacteria, in his hip after he presented with back pain. A strep A infection had gotten into his blood stream and was attacking his muscles.

Mick's body went into septic shock and multiple organ failure, and he was placed on life support in the Intensive Care Unit.

“We had to say goodbye so many times,” his wife Katharine recalls.

The only way to save his life was to amputate both arms and legs.

Now, Mick, 45, is embarking on the next stage of his journey – rehabilitation at Prince of Wales Hospital.

As he prepared to leave the ward he has called home for the past eight months, nursing, medical and allied health staff from across the hospital came to hug the man who has climbed metaphorical mountains since his diagnosis.

“He's been an inspiration in the way he has handled a dreadful, life-changing event,” Burns nurse unit manager Chris Parker said.

“He and his wife have been so positive and worked so hard. They never gave up. We get emotionally connected so it's sad to see him go, but also great because he's moving on to the next stage.”

Mick's story will feature on ABC TV's Australian Story later this year.

“I'm just so grateful for everything. It feels amazing to be making solid progress. But this is Base Camp. Now I have to start climbing,” he said.

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Page Last Updated: 27 May, 2020