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tv   Vital Signs with Dr. Sanjay Gupta  CNN  August 13, 2016 11:30am-12:01pm PDT

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it comes from the greek word meaning addition, and today, prosthetics are more like extension of the human body than ever before. this is "vital signs" and i'm dr. sanjay gupta. the first were used in egypt, and these wooden toes were found in a mummy's tomb, and thought to be the oldest prosthetics, but functional limbs were a far ways away. and am youtations were often fatal. it is the civil war in the 196 # 0s that put the prosthetics to the forefront, and today, nearly 2 million people living with limb loss. the most common reasons are trauma, infection, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
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thankfully, technology has come a long way, and losing a limb no longer means the end of a person's life or the aspects of the person's life, and for athletes prosthetic advancements means never losing a step. meet paratry athlete andy lewis who is a british hopeful for the rio paralympics. 2016 is andy's year. this is the first time that his event is included in the paralympics. at the european triathlon competition in lisbon, he is in peak form, but for paralympian, physical conditioning is just part of the equation. they also need paralytics that are kcomfortable. >> it has to be comfortable, and it has to be mechanically sane, and i have a new knee which they have a sicylinder hydraulic system, and the oil in it is
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thinner, which means it moves quickers and who knows in the next race or if i hopefully get that spot in ree e -- in rio, thenally be even quicker. >> the triathlon is a three discipline event -- swimming, cycling, and running. it is challenging enough changes kits without having to change the limbs. the transition zone is where crucial seconds are gained or lost. the engineering of andy's prosthetics is versatile, and gives him the edge. >> i have the fastest transition s for an amputee, and so we are doing something right. >> andy is supported by clinicians back home in the uk. >> the simple definition is that we provide prosthetic support, and provide them with the prosthesis, but the reality is that it is much deeper than, because it is an intimate relationship, and we have to understand them as people, and understand their daily lives and
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the changes and the demands, and also, the ups and downs with them, which everybody goes through. >> at pace rehab, they specialize in making the spoke socket kets, the piece that fits over the residual limb. they describe themselves as craftsmen. >> the way in which we capture the shape here is typically to wrap somebody in a plaster paris ban daniil, and there is more modern and high-tech ways of doing it, but we have the best results of wrapping the plaster, and then take an empty shell upstairs and fill it with plaster paris, and then we have a positive mold of somebody's leg, and sculpt, reduce, and change the shape according to the anatomy, and then over the top of the mold or the prosthesis is made. >> and so this is the prosthetic socket, and made of carbon fiber. it is very thin. again, they have it spot-on.
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when i first had it made, it was giving me brief rubbing in areas, but going to pace, as you can see here, they actually cut pieces out, where i am getting the issues. >> there is a crossover in the science and the arts here. we understand the arts around and the anatomy, and the mechanic, and the materials and the properties, but then upstairs when we are sculpt iin with the plaster of paris, it is a lot more artistic. >> and prostheticist james has been an amputee for many years, and so he understands james. >> i started on the other side of the table as a patient, and i remember 20er years ago that i had to the fight the carbon, and the barriers between the skin, and the hard socket, because it makes a big difference, but what
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has moved on is a better understanding of what the athletes need so that we are not making a generic sockets, because we are making sockets specifically for a sport or event. >> back in lisbon, andy had a tough race, and went hard on the race, and placed third after the cycle, and made up time on the run, and finish iing in first place with delight, and rio in his sights. >> i can't believe that i am the european champion. i just can't believe it. >> how were you in the transition zones? >>le with -- well, really slick, and i perfect that. >> the hours of preparation by andy and his team pay off in moments like this. next up, we meet another inspiring athlete who defied the odds on the way to paralympic gold.
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>> early morning, baltimore, maryland. on the campus of loyola university brad snyder arrives for swim practice. his guide dog gizzie leads the way. brad changes into the swim gear, and leaves gizzie in the back corner of the pool deck. he follows the drain with the feet and using it to guide him back to the blocks where his coach is waiting. the water is the one place where brad doesn't need much help, and here, though he is completely blind, he feels free. brad snyder grew up in florida, the oldest of four kids.
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as a young boy, he idolized his grandfather, a world war ii veteran. >> from the age of 3 or 4, i remember hanging out with my grandpa in florida, and that is what drove me in the beginning is that i want to live a life when i am 65, i carry the same amount of respect or the same legacy that my grandpa had, and not word-for-word legacy, but that sort of the intangible aura sort of thing. >> brad saw the military as a way to earn that respect. he was accepted to the u.s. naval academy where he learned about the ordnance explosive unit, where he learned about destroying potential explosive threats. your grandfather was in the war, and you knew about the risks. did you worry about yourself getting injured? >> not very much, i think. i think that, you know, that is why we send the young the war, because we are young, naive, and we think that we are invincible,
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and i saw the scars on my grandpa's arm, and the scars on the forehead, and i heard the stories, and to me, i guess that as a kid, i thought that it is a prerequisite for being a hero, and to be someone admirable, you have to take some level of risk. >> brad was deployed in iraq and then afghanistan, and it was there september 2011 that the trajectory of his life would trade forever. >> two of the special commandos had stepped a wway from the pat and sure enough, a 40-pound ied immediately taking the legs off of the first guy, and then took the off the legs of of the guy standing behind him as well. >> brad stepped on the ied, improvised explosive device. it detonate nod the front and left of him, and saving his
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limbs, and likely his life. >> i remember getting knocked back, and i remember waking up kind of looking down, and i could actually see out of my left eye at the time, and i did not see blood or damage, and the fact that i looked fine, i thought that it must mean that i had died. time seemed to go by very, very slowly, and i laid there for a really long time, and i thought that i had lost my dad, and will i see my grandpa again or my dad, and i got excited about it, and then the tinnitus kicked in, and i had the ringing in my right ear, and that sound was bringing me back to reality, and like, wait, i am not dead. then i was acutely aware of the damage to my face. there were severe lacerations to the entirety of my face. i thought, well, i sustained a blast and i'm still alive. >> brad was airlifted out of afghanistan, and he woke up 60
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hours later in walter reed hospital in washington, d.c., surrounded by his family. he had multiple operations on his eyes buck u the blast caused permanent damage, and blindness. to reduce the risk of infection, the doctors decided to remove his eyes and replace them with prosthetics, and brad was only 27 years old. >> sitting in the hospital with that, and now, now it is no l g longer a phantom of uncertainty, and now i know what it is, blindness. everything else is fine. i have ten fingers and toes and the heart is fine, and no traumatic brain injury or ptsd to speak of, but my thing is blindness. i have it in front of me, and i can do this. >> and he is excited. >> brad began to adjust to a life without vision. a few weeks after he was released from the hospital, he attended a barbeque in his honor. >> my old swim coach came over, and just being the person a that he was, and he was not one to exist on the past too long, and
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great, you are backer and when are you coming back to the pool is the way he encounters the world. >> 35. >> brad had actually been a comet pettive swimmer all of his life. at the naval academy, he had been captain of the swim team, and the water was familiar territory for him, but how different would it be without his vision. >> when i was moving in to swim, i felt this liberation of the new burden of this reality. >> any point to realize, hey, i'm pretty good at this and maybe this is something that i can go to the paralympics? >> well, people were talking about the world record is within reach, a a nd this and that ande other thing and i was like, no, no, no guys. this is not that you cannot happen into this, and it takes years and years and years of dedication, and hard work, and mastering the different techniques that i am only just now learning, and it would be impossible for this to happen.
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>> well, this man here, bradley sni snyder dominated the morning heats. >> against the odds, brad did qualify for the london paralympic games in the summer of 2012. >> lane six was twitching and moving. >> he was scheduled to swim the finals september 11th, 2012 a year after his injuries. brad touched the wall far ahead of his come petition. he had done it. won gold, and exactly one year to the day after losing the eyesight in afghanistan. >> he had the race of his life. >> i don't even believe it sometimes, because it seems surreal, and even the memories are something that seems like it was put into a movie or something like that. >> brad left london with two gold medals and a silver. since that time, his life has been a whirlwind and he is focusing full time on training
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for this year's games in rio, and the athletic brand under armour based in baltimore where he lives signed him to a sponsorship deal last year. watching brad do this, you'd never know that he is blind. typically, blind swimmers are tapped by a pole with is the coaches to indicate it is time to make the turn at the wall. in practice, brad does not use a tapper. under gizzie's watchful eye, he navigates the lane ropes and counting the strokes. it is not a perfect method, and he has crashed into the wall a few times, but the way that brad approaches it, swimming is a lot like life. it is what you do after you crash into the wall that matters. and for a little boy in england, nothing is going to be stopping him from huz dream of becoming a professional footballer.
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"the hunt with john walsh" returns tomorrow night at 9:00 on cnn. everyday roughly 500 americans lose a limb. the process of fitting for a prosthetic is painful, and adjustments are always being made. for children who are born without a limb or lose them through amputation, the growing bodies pose a bigger challenge. consider that a growing child may need a new prosthetic as often as every year. but that is not going to stop a little boy in england from pursuing his hopes and dreams of becoming a football star.
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>> what is the set? >> marshall janson is a happy go lucky 8-year-old little boy living by the sea of cornwall in the south of england. he likes nothing more than playing football with the friends on a sunny day. a quadruple amputee, and marshall's mother watched him lose all four limbs to to a devastating illness when he was a year-old. we want to warn you that you may find the next images upsetting. >> it was three days after his first birthday that marall got meningitis c septicemia in which he was starting off with the high temperature, and four hours of taking him to the hospital, he was on a life support machine, and very, very poorly, and they said that he is not going to be making it, and so after being in intensive care for over a month, he started to
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make some science of recovery, but it is designed that he had to have all four limbs amputa d amputated. >> yeah. >> marshall not only survived, but he became the energetic boy that you see today. but new challenges were still to come. prosthetic limbs comes in all shapes and sizes. the ones provided free of charge are not always the best for marshall. he is a sporty kid who enp joys football, and cricket. >> what do you want to be when you grow up? >> i want to be the goalie for the spurs. >> we have to provide for our own limbs, because the limbs for him to be able to do the sports, a and he had basic ones at the beginning, and he was learning how the balance and stand on, which is good to get his posturek but they could not let him do enough, and thaed may him sore. so when we started to go for the blades, and which he put on
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them, he loved them, and it was brilliant, and he was able to keep up with his friends. >> keeping up with the peers comes at a huge cost for the janson fam u will, the blades as they are called cost over $17,000 and sometimes they require additional operations. >> and they are obviously, he is going to be growing out of them, and he needs them replaced normally every year. it can be more depending on the growth. but he going to be having to continue to have operations throughout his childhood, and if we can keep him on his legs and with his peers, then we will do it again. >> and standing up means balance, and confidence, and it is marshall's confidence that he was suffering the most when he received the new eest leg, becae they bend at the knee, and kwi different from the blades that he loved. >> and he said that he would not
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wear them because people would make fun of him. and he would fall over. >> and then the boy who aspires to play for tot ten hhot spur r the biggest message of his life. >> here he comes through the tunnel, and his dad. your first? yes, sign him up! everybody agrees. this is what it is all about. >> so, basically, these legs were not the same as these legs? >> well, they bend. >> these ones bend, and we have a special button in here, and tell us what happens. >> that is the taking it off button. >> and it is a suction, and lets the air out. >> and yes, it is going to be a good idea. >> and so, if you can have it there. >> ouch. >> pop. and so then you have the one
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that is flat. >> like a flying saucer. >> like a flying saucer. >> marshall got the first set of artificial limbs when he was 3 years old and now he is on the fifth pair, but these are going to be taking a little bit different to get used to. these are different, because they have the knee joint, and these are the blades done at the hip, and these are done at a totally different posture, and much better for the back. he can't stand feeling the blades, but he can stand still in these, and there is a quite of difference. >> in is when marshall has worn the new legs on the uneven grass surface. >> okay. well done. >> now, the hill challenge. >> you are doing good, baby. >> hills! >> oh, crash landed. >> i have done this, man. i have done this. >> life threatening trau mas
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like amputation don't stop once the wounds are healed. for stefani janson and the family, a carefree childhood is all they wish for marshall and the sporting ambitions. that means supporting him each step of the way. the are resiliency of children like marshall is astounding, and really, everyone we met was an inspiration, and thanks to the advances in prosthetic technology combined with the strength of the human spirit, a disability like limb loss or blindness does not have to be the end of a distinguished sporting career, and in fact, for these athletes, it was just the beginning. for "vital signs" i'm dr. sanjay gupta.
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>> top of the hour sh, and i'm poppy harlow and so glad you are with us. it is a battle for the white hou house, and two different sides with different concerns that could hurt them on election day. the gop nominee donald trump is laying out what he says is the only reason that he may lose the swing state of pennsylvania. listen. >> we are going to watch pennsylvania, and going down to certain a ar yas, and watch and study and make sure that other people don't come in and vote five times, because if you do that, and i nknow that you are voting, and is everybody here voting? >> yes! >> if you do that, and if you do

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