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Drew Veitch (he/him)
Disability & Amputation
Place of Birth: Australia
Current location: Thirlmere, New South Wales, Australia
Age: 49 years old
Language/s: English only
NDIS Participant: No
Diagnoses: Missing left arm
Healthcare Access: Primary Health Care, Mental Health, Secondary, Tertiary, Quaternary care.
Drew Veitch is an advocate for others with disability and amputations, since a single vehicle road accident in January 2021, near Bathurst, NSW. Post-accident, Drew was airlifted to Royal North Shore Hospital Sydney. While in the helicopter, he had to be revived 3 times and lost so much blood that he received 3 blood transfusions. The accident left him with horrific life-threatening injuries, including the loss of my left arm. Drew was in an induced coma for 2 weeks.
In the accident, Drew's left arm was almost completely ripped off when he hit a guard rail, and his right arm was broken in half. A trauma surgeon spent hours trying to save and re-attach his left arm, but they couldn’t save it. They repaired my right arm with plates and screws. He has a 30cm scar down the length of his abdomen where they cut open to check for internal injuries, and thankfully did not have anything major. Drew spent two weeks in the ICU in a coma, then 1 week in the general ward. Drew is incredibly grateful to the healthcare workers who did an amazing job looking after him and cannot thank them enough, and wants to give back through healthcare advocacy work.
Prior to my accident, Drew had been an interstate truck driver for 30 years. After the accident, his drivers licence was suspended (truck and motorbike) and he could no longer be a truck driver. Drew applied for a disability pension, but was denied because they classed him as 'able bodied'. He only fit 2 of the 5 criteria (you need 3 or more for disability). Needing some form of income after regaining his license, Drew became an Uber driver, which suited him because he could work around all of his doctors appointments and hospital visits. However, this has left him struggling financially and he has had to sell some possessions to pay rent and bills.
Drew's major goal is to be able to drive trucks again, and to get back on his motor bike. He also wants to use his story to improve the lives of others who are facing acquired disabilities, and improve social support systems so people are empowered post-accident.
Drew's surgeon has now performed a world-class surgery to give him a prosthetic shoulder and arm. He has had two surgeries to get a prosthetic shoulder, and pin implant. The process has taken 8 months so far. He is now doing weight loading on his prosthetic shoulder, to get used to the robotic arm. He has been hooked up to a computer to test the nerve functions in my shoulder and can virtually see on the
computer his robotic hand opening and closing.
Since, his truck licence has recently been re-instated (Automatic only) and he had to undergo a driving assessment to make sure he could competently enter and exit the truck and drive with one arm.
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