Sunday 24th April 2016, Congress Center, Reed Messe Vienna, AUSTRIA

Heather Mills was asked by the organising committee of the European Society for Trauma and Emergency Surgery (ESTES), to be a Presidential Guest Speaker on Sunday the 24th April for the 17th Congress meeting in Vienna.

The topic of Heather’s speech was:

“Overcoming Adversity and Living with a Disability” 

ESTES is a non-profit organisation and is Europe’s biggest Trauma Society. 

The conference combined around 10-12 national Trauma and Emergency Societies.

Trauma and Emergency Surgeons from all over Europe and the rest of the world gathered together to share their knowledge and experience, helping to further improve the treatment and outcome of severely injured patients. 

The main topic of this years congress was:

“The Mangled Extremity“

Having worked in the war in the former Yugoslavia for a number of years, Heather returned to the UK physically unscathed only to be hit by a speeding police motorcycle, which resulted in her left leg being amputated below the knee. She also crushed her pelvis, punctured her lung and split her head open.

In 1993 this accident occurred when prosthetics were very primitive. Heather then went on to develop, with her team, running legs, skiing legs, ice dancing legs, cosmetic legs and now holds World Records and gold medals in five winter sports including Speed Skiing at 166.84 km/h.

The lecture took place on Sunday 24th April 2016 at the Reed Messe Congress Centre, Vienna.

It is rare that an amputee can address an audience of trauma surgeons about living with a disability, and therefore Heather attracted many top professionals to this congress.

Heather addressed an assembly in the Strauss Lecture Hall, utilising her 40 minute lecture time to the optimum.

Captivating her audience from the onset, Heather started her speech with the uncanny co-incidence of when her mother lost her leg at the same age of 25, which was later, re-attached, but ultimately resulted in her death at the age of 48 yrs old.

Heather went on to talk about how surgeons fully need to understand when to amputate and when to save the limb and what length the limb should be amputated at for the perfect fitting prosthesis.

When Heather was hit by the police motorcycle in 1993, her family were told in the hospital to say their farewells 3 times, as Heather was on the brink of death.

Now, decades later, overcoming her adversity, Heather relayed the importance of her message to the collection of doctors, surgeons and professors of how vital it was to motivate their patients to believe that they can overcome their misfortune and achieve their dreams.

Inspiring millions around the world, Heather has shown that just because you have a disability it does not stop you from living a fulfilled life.

She is forever grateful to the team of doctors that saved her life.

Roman Ostermann, Trauma Surgeon at Department of Trauma Surgery, Medical University of Vienna said:

"Heather gave such an inspiring speech. It certainly got all the crowd thinking. We enjoyed Heather's company immensely and were so pleased she could be our honoured guest at this years congress".

Heather donated her fee of €10,000 to the Diakoniewerk network for the community of Schladming, Austria.

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