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Double Amputee Takes First Steps With Permanent Leg Implant

By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) - A Denver man, who lost both legs in a traffic accident, is now learning to walk with a permanent leg implant. He is the second amputee to benefit from a Denver surgeon's unique design.

Since the operation in February, Gary Molock has had some complications. But Monday, the father of two was thrilled to stand up straight and take his first steps.

Gary Molock (credit: CBS)

"I always knew I was going to get here one day," Molock told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

He was excited and a little nervous.

"My palms are getting a little sweaty," he said.

This day was the moment of truth for this double amputee.

The scene of the crash (credit: The scene of Gary Molock's crash (credit: Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter Herald)

On July 3, 2014, Molock was driving a delivery truck when a moving van careened across the highway and hit him head on, cutting off his legs instantly.

On Feb. 21, at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center, Molock was the second person ever to get a permanent leg implant with a porous metal collar, the design of Denver orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ronald Hugate that would allow skin and tissue to grow into the implant.

(credit: CBS)

Six weeks after surgery, Hugate's first patient, Army veteran Jace Badia, was up and walking. But Molock needed another operation to combat infection and promote healing.

"He's made a lot of progress from last week to this week," said Dr. David Schnur, plastic surgeon at PSL that performed the first two surgeries beside Hugate.

Schnur gave the okay for Molock to connect a short prosthetic to the implant and try standing.

(credit: CBS)

"Yeah, there's some pain there," Molock said.

Like Badia, Molock learned the leg is painful at first. His first steps were strenuous.

LEG IMPLANT Jace Badia (credit: CBS)
Jace Badia (credit: CBS)

"That's definitely something to get used to right there," he said.

Two weeks after standing, Badia was cruising in new converse sneakers using just a cane. Molock said he is up to the challenge.

Gary Molock (credit: CBS)

"And we're going to do cartwheels and backflips and somersaults together, bro," he said.

Molock will need to take things slowly, but the hope is he will eventually walk with taller artificial legs. He said he cannot wait to stand and hold his wife's hand and play with his little girls in the park.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4's Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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