from Wayne Wood
Jason Koger awoke in the Burn Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in early March 2008, and through the unfamiliar surroundings and the anesthetic haze he understood what he was being told: below the elbow, his arms were gone.
Photographer Joe Howell and I drove to Utica, Ky., in 2010 to work on a story about Jason, his treatment at the Vanderbilt Burn Center, and his life afterward. He is one of the most upbeat individuals I’ve ever met, and he and his wife Jenny are amazing people.
The latest chapter in Jason’s life has taken him to Hawaii, where he worked on an episode of “Hawaii Five-O,” which will air on CBS on Monday, Feb. 4. The guest villain, called the Hookman, is played by Peter Weller, who is best known for playing the title role in Robocop movies.
In order to accurately show the functioning of artificial arms, the producers hired Jason to be Weller’s “stand-in arms.” He says that when you see Hookman’s arms in the show, they are really his–including one scene in which he hid behind Weller and his arms seamlessly appear to be the actor’s.
Jason also says he gets a brief cameo in the episode as an extra.
In a Facebook post about his experience, Jason says, “The whole crew were great. I will keep in touch with each and every one of them.”
This makes the second time in the past three years that the subject of a feature from House Organ, the VUMC employee magazine which stopped publication in June 2012, has appeared in a prime-time network show. Two years ago, “Grey’s Anatomy” drew inspiration from a story by Leslie Hill about an innovative spine surgery performed by Matthew McGirt, M.D., on patient Judy Kerns.