Will Ortega’s smile is contagious and almost never leaves his face. It’s hard to believe he’s only three weeks away from a horrific construction accident that cost him his legs.
Ortega was working on the demolition of the old Edison power plant in South Boston when a mezzanine collapsed. He was trapped in the debris for hours, eventually being rescued by emergency crews.
Ortega says his son is his motivation to move forward. As he begins therapy at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, he faces physical and psychological challenges.
Dr. David Crandell is the medical director of the amputee program.
“The fact that he’s young and healthy is definitely in his favor,” Crandell said.
Crandell tells his patients that amputation shapes them, but does not define them.
Spaulding provides the physical and mental therapy Ortega needs to do the job ahead.
Ortega has already proven he has the physical ability to recover.
“He might tell you he beat me in the pull-up contest,” Crandell said.
This pulling performance is a true example of Ortega’s fundamental strength that will be key to his full recovery. And that’s what these early occupational therapy sessions focus on.
As for the mental and emotional strain, he told the staff they wouldn’t be able to handle it – that they’d have to send him home because he’s so optimistic.
After about a week of therapy, he will work from home before returning to Spaulding to get fit and trained in his new prosthetics.