Health series earns another award for ‘Spinal Cord Injury’

Published: July 6, 2011  |  Source:

ROCHESTER — An episode of WXXI’s national healthcare series “Second Opinion” that featured the story of a Byron man has won one of two Communicator Awards for the public broadcaster.

The awards, presented by the International Academy of the Visual Arts, is considered the leading international awards program honoring creative excellence for communications professionals.

Second Opinion’s “Spinal Cord Injury” won a Communicator Award of Distinction in the category of Health and Wellness. It had previously won a Telly Award.

Hosted by Dr. Peter Salgo and filmed at WXXI’s

Studios, “Second Opinion” presents actual medical cases to a panel of experts to debate the pros and cons of diagnostic testing, interpret test results, and prescribe the best course of action.

The “Spinal Cord Injury” episode inclues the story of Charlie Durkee of Byron who was paralyzed from the waist down after falling 20 feet from a tree on May 7, 2007. Durkee , then 22, was injured while rescuing the family’s pet cockatiel from a tree that Durkee had climbed many times.

Durkee was stablized by Byron Rescue Squad, then taken by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital’s Trauma Center in Rochester. He spent several weeks in the hospital recovering and learning how to live life as a paraplegic.

In the “Second Opinion” episode Durkee shared the trials he has faced since the accident. The episode also featured Dr. Brad Berk, the CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center, who shares his story of a 2009 bicycle accident that severely injured his spinal cord.

In April, the episode was awarded a Bronze Telly in the health and fitness TV program category.

The episode, “Bipolar Disorder” was also honored with a Communicator Award. In the episode “Second Opinion” panelists look at this brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide.

“Second Opinion” is produced by WXXI, the University of Rochester Medical Center and West 175 Productions.

The series airs 10 p.m. Fridays and 3 p.m. Saturdays on WXXI-TV, and on more than 250 PBS stations nationwide.

To learn more about the series visit

By Ben Beagle