Music Icon Phil Collins Loses Right Arm In Tragic Accident


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"I wish I had a better story to tell you about why I am typing this with one hand (and some help from Dragon Dictate)," Collins wrote.

Music icon Phil Collins, best known both as drummer and vocalist for rock group Genesis and as a solo artist, revealed in a blog post that his left arm was amputated recently after an accident.

"I wish I had a better story to tell you about why I am typing this with one hand (and some help from Dragon Dictate)," he wrote. Phil also supplied a post-surgery photo to show he is taking it well and in good health. (below)

The story is not, he wrote with bittersweet humor, as "entertaining" as a shark attack or assassination attempt.

What led to the loss of Collins's arm was a case of music gear.

On March 11, he was stacking a case of guitars and amplifiers onto a cart after a reporting trip to Japan and the Philippines for a benefits concert, and one of them fell on his right forearm.

"It hurt, but it wasn't 'call 911' pain. It was painful and swollen but I figured it would be okay without any medical intervention. Maybe a little bit of denial?" the Grammy award-winning artist wrote.

His arm seemed sore and swollen the next day, but didn't appear worse. That night, though, he experienced greater pain and swelling, and the next day asked the hotel where he was to refer him to a doctor.

The doctor told Collins he may be experiencing acute compartment syndrome. This condition involves increased pressure in a muscle compartment, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Muscles in the arms and legs are separated from each other by thick layers of tissue called fascia, and each fascia has space in it, called a compartment, with muscle tissue, nerves and blood vessels.

When there is swelling in a compartment, pressure in that area will increase and press on the muscles, blood vessels and nerves.

"If this pressure is high enough, blood flow to the compartment will be blocked," according to the NIH's MedlinePlus resource. "This can lead to permanent injury to the muscle and nerves. If the pressure lasts long enough, the muscles may die and the arm or leg will not work any more. It may need to be amputated."

Symptoms of severe cases of compartment syndrome include skin paleness, numbness, tingling, decreased sensation, weakness and severe worsening pain. Early diagnosis and treatment are key for a good recovery.

Patients need immediate surgery, which involves making long cuts through the muscle tissue to relieve pressure. Collins's doctor recommended this procedure, also known as a fasciotomy.

After entering surgery, Collins woke up to learn that his blood pressure had dropped during the procedure. To save him, the doctor had made the decision to amputate just above the elbow.

"I was later told that it was a choice...between a life and a limb," Collins wrote.

Since then, Collins has dealt with "phantom pain, the vicissitudes of daily life with one hand and the worries about what lies ahead," he wrote.

But he says he is grateful to be alive and urged fans not to worry. "I will get by, it's not going to slow me down," Collins also wrote.

While Collins is most known for his legendary role in the band Genesis, he also has gone on to a lucrative carrer as a solo artist, record producer, even dabbling into films, theatre and television.

He ended his blog post poignantly: "Life is all about playing the hand that is dealt you. Staying positive and always moving towards the future. After all, what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger. Thank you to all of my fans, friends, and family who have showed nothing but support and encouragement."