Matthew Ames was 39 years old when what started as a sore throat resulted in the loss of all four of his limbs. He had contracted streptococcal resulting in toxic shock and was never expected to survive. Matthew suffered kidney failure, a detached retina, and permanent hearing loss in addition to the loss of his arms and legs. Matthew has beaten the odds, spurred on by the fact that he is the father of four young children and husband of a very dedicated wife determined to grow old with him.
Since his limbs were removed, Matthew has been faced with incredible challenges. Some of the biggest have been in knowledge available to him about his prospects and ideas about how much he should expect to be able to do. He is one of very few quadruple amputees in Australia, let alone globally. His limbs are significantly shorter than most and at present he relies entirely on his core strength to sit upright and move.
Matthew has pursued innovative ways to regain his independence, including being the first in the world to have titanium bolts placed in all four of his limbs (osseointegration) and the first in Australia to reconnect the nerves in his hands into the muscles in his upper arms (targeted muscle reinnervation).
What’s He’s Doing Now
Matthew enjoys a number of activities including speaking to a wide variety of audiences, as board member of not-for-profit organisations, a member of steering committees for both federal and state government health agencies and an ambassador for an antibiotic drug discovery research program. Prior to his illness, Matthew was an executive in the energy and resources sector, an industry in which he had worked for almost 20 years as an environmental engineer and safety professional.
Matthew’s Book “Will to Live”
Will to Live was published in July 2014.
Written in two voices, that of Diane and Matthew, it tells the story behind the decision to amputate Matthew’s limbs.
Details about the book are available from Penguin Books