Gabe Goreham

Gabe was in a devastating motorcycle accident, in which his legs were crushed. His life was saved by a very sweet soul—a former firefighter named Jorge—who witnessed Gabe being dragged down the road by a truck, jumped out of his car and used his belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Gabe was airlifted to Morristown Memorial Hospital, where both legs were amputated.

Gabe is miraculously free of head and spinal injuries. He has a couple of cracked ribs, but it appears none of his internal organs are damaged. He is, of course, in excruciating pain and faces multiple surgeries in the days and weeks ahead, then a long rehabilitation process—first to adjust to life in a wheelchair and ultimately to prosthetics.

Gabe, who is 19 years old, has always been an athlete and a free spirit—and it is our profound wish that he recover his mobility and enjoy life to the fullest. 

Gabe's First Steps toward Walking

At last Gabe has begun being fit for his first prosthetic devices!

Meet Gabe’s prosthetist, Jon Batzdorf of Sierra Orthopedic.  Prosthetists work with a fascinating mix of biology, psychology and engineering. Skilled and caring, Jon seems to really enjoy his mission to restore locomotion to all kinds of people.

 
Gabe Goreham & John Batzdorff, CPO

After meeting Gabe and myself, Dr. Batzdorf met with Gabe’s orthopedic surgeon, Nathan Ehmer, to talk about the special challenges Gabe faces related to prosthetic fitting and wear. Every double above-the-knee amputee faces a huge mountain to climb, when learning to walk on prostheses. For Gabe, because of the large area of  delicate skin graft tissue covering the end of his right leg, he has had to wait months to even begin to try. And because of significant heterotopic ossification in the same leg, and a less-than-ideal surgical closure on the left leg, Gabe will undergo one more major reconstructive surgery in a few months time.

In spite of these challenges, Gabe’s doctors feel the skin-graft is strong enough now to withstand at least a trial in wearing the first prosthetic devices that will move Gabe toward his goal, of getting up out of that wheelchair! So fantastic!

 

First, Batzdorf asked Gabe to wear a special set of “tights”, designed to receive the wet, quick-setting  plaster strips Jon applied and carefully shaped to each of Gabe’s legs. Here you can see the plaster cast on Gabe’s right leg, with Jon’s markings in black ink. Once the plaster dried, Jon cut the tights off and ended up with carefully made casts. With these and some measurements, Jon will create silicone gel liners that will allow Gabe’s legs to wear sockets, onto which prosthetic attachments can be fixed.

Jon says Gabe will first be given a set of “Stubbies,” which are foreshortened prosthesis. Stubbies will allow Gabe to get finally STAND UP once again! I can’t describe how much I look forward to seeing my son’s upright body! Stubbies will allow Gabe to feel into a kind of walking, but will not give him any height. After some practice on “Stubbies,” Gabe should be ready to move toward full-leg prosthetics.

Watch Gabe walk for the first time on his C-Legs!