Bob dedicates exhibition to medical staff who saved him

Gabrielle Murphy from Hunter Spinal Cord Injury Service; Bruce Smart Sophia Ward, hospital Registered Nurse, Bob Teoh. Photo supplied
Gabrielle Murphy from Hunter Spinal Cord Injury Service; Bruce Smart Sophia Ward, hospital Registered Nurse, Bob Teoh. Photo supplied

More than a year after a devastating fall left him with a permanent spinal injury, photographer Bob Teoh returned to John Hunter Hospital to thank those who cared for and supported him through his recovery.

Bob has dedicated his latest exhibition, a series of 11 black and white photographs he has called the Vale of Gloucester to staff at the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and John Hunter Hospital who helped save his life.

In September 2019, Bob suffered a serious spinal injury while taking photos during a hike up the Bucketts. Bob, 72, suffered a medical episode while taking photographs of the valley below and the resulting fall left him with a serious spinal cord injury.

"Bob had a unique injury in that his upper body was more affected than his lower body, but it still affected him totally," hospital physiotherapist Bruce Smart said.

Bob underwent surgery and spent the next 69 days in hospital recovering and recuperating. When he was finally allowed to go home, one of his first goals was to get back behind the camera.

Supported by wife Kim, and with the aid of crutches, Bob's first exhibition post-recovery filled shopfront windows along Church Street in Gloucester and ran from January 25 to February 15, 2020.

"When I had the fall I thought, 'you're a real goner, you're going to die here, because there's no-one coming up here'," Bob said. "I spent the next 69 days having breakfast in bed. What it's made me realise is that we must live every day to the full."

What it's made me realise is that we must live every day to the full.

Bob Teoh

Bob's wife Kim said her husband's latest exhibition was a chance to say thank you to the many people involved in his recovery.

"I want to really thank them from the bottom of my heart, because I feel they all worked so hard for him," she said.

Bob was reunited with some of the hospital staff that worked with him during his recovery at John Hunter Hospital on Wednesday December 2. The staff toured theexhibition on display in the hospital, while Bob also provided each of them with a gift of a series of smaller prints.

"It's really very humbling to have someone acknowledge us in this way," Mr Smart said. "We're doing our jobs and we're trying to do our best for everyone. It's really lovely that someone feels they need to acknowledge us like this."