BOSTON

Man Who Lost Legs in Boston Construction Accident Starts Rehab

Ortega was working on the demolition of the former Edison Power Plant in South Boston when a mezzanine collapsed. He was trapped in the debris for hours, eventually rescued by emergency crews

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Will Ortega's smile is infectious and almost never leaves his face.  It's hard to believe he is just three weeks removed from a horrible construction accident that cost him his legs.

Ortega was working on the demolition of the former Edison Power Plant in South Boston when a mezzanine collapsed. He was trapped in the debris for hours, eventually rescued by emergency crews.

Ortega says his son is his motivation to move forward. As he begins therapy at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital he faces both physical and psychological challenges. 

Dr. David Crandell is the medical director for the amputee program.

"The fact that he is a young, healthy individual is certainly in his favor," Crandell said.

Crandell tells his patients that the amputation shapes them, but it doesn't define them.

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Spaulding provides the physical and mental therapy Ortega needs to do the work that lies ahead. 

Ortega has already proven he has the physical capability to recover.

"He may tell you that he bested me at the pullup contest," Crandell said.

That pull-up performance is a real example of Ortega's core strength that's going to be key to his full recovery.  And that's what these early occupational therapy sessions are focused on.

As for the mental and emotional strain, he's told the staff they are not going to be able to handle him -- that they will have to send him home because he's so upbeat.

After a week or so of therapy he will work at home before coming back to Spaulding to be fit and trained in his new prosthetics.   

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