News producer Stuart Hughes, who had his right foot amputated after being injured while covering the war in Iraq, returned to work this week. And despite what happened to him five months ago, when he was caught in the same landmine explosion that killed BBC freelance cameraman Kaveh Golestan, he is keen to get back to the frontline.
|Sarah Whitehead, world tv planning editor; Mark Jones, assignments editor; Stuart Hughes (sitting); Malcolm Downing, assignments editor; Sally Hodgkinson, senior producer - special events; Guy Pelham, assignments editor|
‘Although it might be pushing it to go to Baghdad, I’d love to go to Jerusalem where I worked last year and for a month earlier this year, and where I have many friends,’ he told Ariel.
‘The BBC says it can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t return to the field, and there is a precedent in Mo Amin [a cameraman who worked with a prosthetic arm before being killed in a plane crash in 1996].’
For the time being, however, Stuart will stick to a desk job as part of newsgathering’s foreign special events team, working two or three days a week until he feels ready to do more.
He is still adjusting to a new false lower leg that was fitted at the start of September.
‘It’s far better than the first limb I was given in June, which made me feel as I though I was walking inside a bucket,’ he says. ‘I’ve had a lot of physio but have been told that the best thing I can do now is walk, to help build up my strength.
‘Three weeks ago I joined a new gym and was surprised by how much I could do. I went to an aerobics class and there were only a couple of exercises that I couldn’t join in. I’m a keen scuba diver and I hope to get back to that before too long. I’ve asked to be fitted with a waterproof leg.’
Stuart has already resumed driving -– in a modified car that he uses to travel to and from his home in Ealing to visit his family in Wales, and the hospital in Cardiff where he is an outpatient.
‘I can’t fault the treatment – it has been fantastic – but it has taken up a lot of time,’ he says.
Also he has been busy writing a BBC news online column charting his progress, helping the Mines Advisory Group, for which he has become a patron, and taking part in a BBC Wales documentary about his experiences, to be shown next spring.