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Changing perspectives: ‘You learn to appreciate things that you previously took for granted’

What happens when your life alters in a split second and everything you know is thrown into disarray? As BP’s global head of operations, it’s Fuzzy Bitar’s job to lead teams around the world to produce oil and gas safely, reliably and efficiently every day. But, as he explains here, a life-changing accident on a beach holiday has seen him adapt the way in which he gets that message across…

“I was on holiday on the Indonesian island of Bali with my wife and children when my life changed completely. BP had just brought online the Tangguh gas plant, situated in a remote part of the country. After three years of hard work, it was time for a rest.

On this particular day, my son and I were playing in the sea, when a freak wave picked me up and slammed me onto the beach. I was knocked unconscious, face down in shallow water. When I came to, not only couldn’t I breathe, I couldn’t move anything.

Luckily, my wife saw this happen and, with the help of some tourists, pulled me from the water. Emergency services in that part of the world are very basic, but I was also lucky enough to know someone that I could telephone who knew how to arrange a medical evacuation by aeroplane. While waiting for it to arrive I was taken to the International SOS clinic on the island and, as my family left to go to the hotel, with the kids in shock, it was then I realised this was a very serious situation.

Medical complications and very low moments

I was eventually flown to Singapore, where I spent three weeks in intensive care, battling a series of medical complications and some very low moments. For a long time, my prognosis was, at best, unpredictable and, at worst, looking like I might never walk again. Those first few weeks were about survival, but the thought of my wife and family – of still being of use to them – kept me going.

Only once I was moved to a high dependency unit, still in Singapore, did I start to think about the longer-term future.

To find out what happened next, read the rest of Fuzzy’s story here .

This interview originally appeared in BP Magazine and has been reproduced with permission, www.bp.com/bpmagazine

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