Injured Doncaster soldier undergoes another operation in a bid to walk unaided

Ben ParkinsonBen Parkinson
Ben Parkinson
The most seriously injured British soldier to survive an attack in Afghanistan is hoping an operation on his spine will help him achieve his dream of walking unaided again.

Paratrooper Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, from Doncaster, lost both his legs, suffered brain damage and around 40 other different injuries, when his Land Rover was blown up by a mine in 2006.

He is now recovering after a seven-hour operation, filmed by the BBC's Inside Out programme, to help straighten his spine in a bid to improve his chances of walking on prosthetic legs unaided.

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The curve in his back has not only affected his walking but, for the first time in years, he has been complaining to his parents about being in pain, his family said.

Eight years ago the soldier had an operation to install screws and two rods in his back.

But his spine has curved below the rods and the latest operation involved surgeons putting new screws at the bottom of his back and adding length to the original rods.

After the operation, one of the surgeons, Alex Baker, told Inside Out: "So far it's looking pretty good. It's looking fairly well-balanced. We're very happy with the x-rays and how it all looks."

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Ben's mother, Diane Dernie, said the operation was an important step.

She said: "This operation means everything to Ben. There are good medical reasons why it needs to happen but for Ben it's all about the walking."

Before the surgery, Ben said: "I am excited, it's been over 10 years that I have been waiting for it.

"My walking is going a lot, lot better but I need this operation for it to progress. I am confident this operation will make a big difference. It will definitely make a difference in some way."

The programme featuring Ben's operation will be shown on BBC One at 7.30pm tonight.