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A heart wrenching family ordeal on AUSTRALIAN STORY

Introduced by John Eales, Former Wallabies Captain

On Christmas Day two years ago, father of two, Mick O’Dowd was experiencing mild muscle pain in his glute.  What followed was beyond anyone’s imagination.

That evening Mick went to the local hospital where he was prescribed painkillers and sent home.

Twenty-four hours later he was back in hospital, fighting for his life in intensive care.

“It’s mind blowing really, to think this happened over a couple of days,”

– says Mick’s wife Katharine.

“The frightening thing is it can happen without anyone realising there’s a big problem at all.”

Mick was eventually diagnosed with sepsis, a little known but life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs. There’s no definitive test and a delayed diagnosis can be fatal.

Despite a 20 percent chance of surviving that first night, Mick pulled through, but it came at a cost. By New Year’s Day he faced a heartbreaking decision – whether or not to amputate all four limbs.

“What’s the other option?” Mick asked Katharine at the time as he struggled to understand the enormity of what lay in front of them.

“The other option is not to go through with it and not stay with us,”

– she told him.

Filmed at regular intervals over the past two years, this story documents Mick’s recovery, charting the courageous and life-affirming story of an ordinary family facing the unthinkable.

“I feel so lucky that after everything he’s been through, he’s still the same guy I fell in love with,”

– says Katharine.  

“He’s still the same strong, determined, courageous, funny man. It’s been a very interesting path and one that I hope other people get hope from.”

Producer: Anthony Frisina

AUSTRALIAN STORY – Monday 23 November at 8pm on ABC and iview

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