An Australian man who cut up his foot in half from toe to ankle in an horrific bike accident in Thailand has embraced his ‘Pirate’ nickname regardless of nonetheless coping with the bodily and psychological results of getting the foot eliminated.
Jason Mitchell, 46, was working for a mate refitting and photographing superyachts within the resort of Phuket in December 2019 when he jumped on a dirtbike to move dwelling.
He’d solely travelled 300m when he encountered a bunch of locals on scooters stationary in the course of the street. They did not transfer as he slowed the bike till, when he had practically reached them, the group instantly dispersed.
Mitchell modified his line to keep away from hitting anybody and was sideswiped by one of many scooters. The affect pressured him to scrape alongside the facet of a parked automobile, smashing its driver’s facet mirror.
‘I used to be nonetheless upright however I felt a bit of bump as I rode alongside the sting of the automobile,’ he recalled.
‘In Australia, automobile tyres must be inside the body of the automobile however in Thailand, they let the tyres stick out. I hit the tyre… that was the little bump I felt. The compression of it pushed the foot peg of the bike straight via my foot.
‘After I seemed down I might solely see my massive toe. Half my foot with the opposite 4 toes was beneath the foot peg.’
Mitchell pictured in a Thai hospital within the days after his accident. Thai medical doctors have been initially optimistic his foot may very well be saved
Mitchell was driving this dirtbike down a street in Phuket when he encountered a bunch in the course of the street. Attempting to keep away from them, he was sideswiped by a scooter and compelled right into a collision with a parked automobile
The tyre of the parked automobile which Mitchell struck as he scraped alongside, forcing the bike’s foot peg via the underside of his foot
The photographs of Mitchell’s foot as Thai medical doctors tried to put it aside by wiring it collectively are actually graphic
What adopted was a nightmarish few weeks for the previous skilled fisherman from picturesque Stanage in Far North Queensland.
It started with a weird journey to the hospital at the back of one among Phuket’s ‘non-public’ ambulances and ended with $28,000 in Thai hospital charges, a painful aircraft journey again to Australia, and the eventual amputation of his decrease leg in Royal Brisbane Hospital.
The bearded Mitchell, a father of two, mentioned he’s nonetheless coping with the consequences of the incident, together with phantom pains and moments of melancholy, although he can nonetheless inform his story in a larrikin style.
Again in Australia, medical doctors knowledgeable Mitchell his foot was contaminated and would have to be amputated
Regardless of the ache, Mitchell realized to stroll once more with the help of prosthetics as rapidly as attainable due to his hatred of crutches and wheelchairs
Mitchell mentioned he stills feels phantom ache in his left leg, 18 months after the incident
Earlier than the amputation, a physician requested if he needed to be an Olympic runner with a brand new prosthetic leg
‘They did name me a pirate earlier than the accident,’ he mentioned.
‘What a comedy of errors. [But] I at all times preferred the pirate way of life, the previous Jack Sparrow… the beard and the boats. However nobody ever desires to lose a foot.’
Mitchell mentioned he was in shock and coming out and in of consciousness on the scene of the accident as locals ‘stopped their scooters and took pictures’.
He was placed on a chrome steel mattress inside a personal ambulance – ‘some bloke’s van with a cross painted on the facet’, Mitchell mentioned – and wakened on the way in which to the hospital to search out he’d been zipped up in a bodybag.
‘I wriggled out of it and I used to be like, what the f*%$! I really leapt out of it and the Thais all cowered to the again of the van, like, “he’s come again to life!”… as a result of I had already misplaced lots of blood.’
In hospital in Bankgkok, Mitchell’s foot, cut up from inside the massive toe virtually to the again of his heel, was wired collectively. Native medical doctors have been assured the foot may very well be saved.
As his toes started to discolour, nevertheless, it grew to become clear Mitchell wanted to return to Australia. Stripped of all funds by the price of therapy in Thailand, a GoFundMe web page began by pals and his dad and mom helped him make the journey dwelling.
The Pirate of Stanage in his favorite place, on a fishing boat in his hometown
‘Everybody appears to be like on social media and thinks, “Ah, he’s nice, he’s doing superb,” however that’s solely the hours I can put on the leg for.’
‘The airline was a bit reluctant to let me on as a result of I had all these wires in my foot,’ he mentioned.
‘On the flight the vibrations of the aircraft, the jet motor, all that was enjoying havoc in my head, it was simply indescribable ache.
‘However I used to be simply glad I used to be coming dwelling. I believe I even shed a couple of tears flying in over Australia.’
In Brisbane medical doctors unwrapped his foot from its heavy bandages to find a science experiment.
‘They could not imagine what they noticed as a result of there have been not less than a dozen wires in every toe, wrapped round one another as much as my ankle.
‘I used to be lacking two metatarsal bones and two tendons… the foot peg had come via and simply crushed them up, I don’t know what occurred to them.’
After 4 days in Brisbane, medical doctors suggested Mitchell the foot was contaminated and that amputation was the logical selection.
‘A specialist got here in and mentioned, ‘”We are able to make you an Olympic runner, do you need to be an Olympic runner?”
‘I mentioned, “I don’t need to run wherever, mate, I simply need to f#@*ing stroll”.’
By March 2020, Mitchell was being fitted for a prosthetic leg. His hatred of crutches and the wheelchair meant the knockabout Queenslander ignored the ache of studying to stroll once more to point out he might stand and stroll with the help.
‘The nurses have been freaking out,’ he mentioned.
‘I simply took off, watching myself strolling within the mirror. I used to be in ache however I did not present it.
‘However everybody sees on social media and thinks, “Ah, he’s nice, he’s doing superb,” however that’s solely the hours I can put on the leg for.’
The previous skilled fisherman offered his licence to take up the work alternative in Thailand
‘Drawback is, I take into consideration the accident on a regular basis, it performs havoc with my thoughts,’ Mitchell mentioned
Now again in Stanage, Mitchell mentioned he has good days and dangerous days. He is making an attempt to get again on his toes financially, saving for one more fishing boat and working his firm Maritime Media Providers.
‘To start with it was all doom and gloom, then okay, you survive, glory days,’ he mentioned.
‘You’ve simply received to get via every stage.
‘Drawback is, I take into consideration the accident on a regular basis, it performs havoc with my thoughts. Was it simply an accident? Did they imply it? In that case, why?’
One factor he is come to phrases with is the very fact he’ll at all times be known as the ‘Pirate of Stanage’.
‘Even in the course of the amputation I used to be saying, “I’m going to be a pirate! I’m going to be a pirate!”
‘I had no selection.’