Real-life 'Iron Man': How paralyzed surgeon is able to perform surgeries: Part 1

Dr. Chris McCulloh overcame a life-changing accident and uses a hydraulic wheel chair in the operating room.
8:43 | 09/14/17

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:

{{nextVideo.title}}

{{nextVideo.description}}

Skip to this video now

Now Playing:

{{currentVideo.title}}

More information on this video
Enhanced full screen
Explore related content
Comments
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Real-life 'Iron Man': How paralyzed surgeon is able to perform surgeries: Part 1
And to get to San Jose saint Bonaventure hospital he's a hero unlike any other change. Doctor Sean Murphy and Boise did you change a brilliant visionary surgeon lower amplitude whose lower voltage. Who just happens to have autism and sieve pond syndrome. The veins in the boys left armor popping. His condition leads to strokes of medical genius. His his heart it's his heart his heart is fine but also moments of awkwardness and alienation behave yourself or he'll be removed from the building. Then there's the skepticism. And prejudices of the hospital's board and staff. And you generally thought that this board would reasonably have any doubts about hiring a surgeon has been diagnosed with autism. Yes he has. Autism but he has facial intelligence and he sees things and analyzes things in ways that we can't even begin. To understand. This may be the first time a doctor with a severe disability is the lead of a primetime drama. But it's certainly not the first time such a doctor has put on scrubs in real life. Imagine if your doctor couldn't see doctor Tim Courtis of Wisconsin is blind but he's able to identify irregular heartbeat without his stethoscope. Because of his advanced hearing. What if your doctor couldn't hear doctor Phillips as so many Michigan is daft. And he's able to use a stethoscope because he's hyper sensitive to vibration and he also read limbs to communicate. This locks in the news purple blood and place or how would you react if you thought your surgeon was unable to stand over the operating table have a belt and hear words gives life for you answer me doctor Chris McCullough of the Morristown medical center in New Jersey. Wow. His 20000 dollars standing wheelchair is a feat of engineering. I didn't know Chris figure pretty tall I'm 63 reserves becomes more of a challenge from. Enabling this third year general surgery resident to do something so remarkable only a handful of paralyzed doctors in the country can do it. Standard. So I am hey if you. Oh six. Chris had always wanted to be a surgeon but his medical career was almost over before it began. I had already been accepted to medical school accent I was standing up from being seated at my desk. And I slipped and my whole body went up and they came crashing down six foot three 200 pounds. Plus coffee table. And I had snapped backwards and I broke. Sort of prevalent act. I knew and I couldn't move my legs that something was wrong and the back in my mind I was yelling please don't let. You tell us. Really you actually thought. I thought my life was over. The one time avid skier underwent months of rehabilitation. Strengthening his body rebuilding his results. When I got three have they said you're probably never gonna walk again that's another I don't know we'll. Chris made it through medical school and eventually learned that is so called disability he actually placed to his advantage. He comes into the room at a level that's more of the patient's level they can see him and they can speak within the meaning that any underlying level right now because. And that helps a lot. In fact one study suggests patients perceive doctors to be giving them more quality time with a doctor is sitting during consoles instead of standing room having the fact that he's. Lower actually really helps I think that. The fact that he's lower and and a lot of it is isn't he personality. But right now it's all about Chris is skill as a surgeon wants his bedside manner. We watch as he heads into its system and double mastectomy. Supported by his hydraulic wheelchair. I'm good levels the playing field. I can gets everybody's level and get to the table just like everybody else. I don't wanna be treated any differently than anybody else asked for any different accommodations or ask for anyone to do things differently. Could this thing I hear trains to capture it did and absolutely dead. You look a lot better than you did last week which I think it certainly gives me the opportunity to connect with patients they look and they can see very visibly that I've been in the bad news. I don't know what it's like. Can I sit here obviously very Smart. When you know Warner. How many times a sentence here oh more than I can count. Tyler sex to his journey from patient to doctor has been one long uphill battle. He suffers from spastic to please she it's a form of cerebral palsy. A chronic and neural muscular condition that affects balanced. As well as movement below the waist her. Sports car but his condition affects more than a flakes for. Did the disease also take your ice there's no visual impairment at all but there is a lazy I'd. In the common terms saying yes to an obstacle that is tripped up this good doctors since he was born six weeks premature and the doctor called. Send and he said he will definitely be physically disabled may never get out of a wheelchair. He will probably. Be mentally disabled. Doctors were told me that I wouldn't amount to anything that I can sharpen pencils for a living there I could take doctor stories ask yes. When Tyler was three he got his first longer that he still had trouble keeping his balance. You broke bones because you tell some actual wreck cavs can't have broken almost every bottom a body of major bones from needs to wrists and ankles and all my fingers. He's all about four to six times a day. No but instead of giving up he kept getting up. Needing help with his own too late she turned to someone would ask for our. This is Danny Tyler surfaced on the. Here are using his body weight to get yourself all correct where I bought my body. Good our forums are using music Canada I think he's rumor control site and go slow moving upstairs. Tyler says there were years growing up when the teasing was relentless. Got so bad I would pretend I was blind. Nobody would mess with the boring kind. Tyler says he could handle that ponds from other kids that the discouragement from adults is what drew him off balance. I had an interview this medical school and you look at these and you will never be a doctor. And said why he sickness and continue did you start to rethink hearing. Commitment to becoming a doctor I'll tell you that I was broken. Broken but not beaten he applied to a dozen medical schools in the United States. Despite having straight eighties every single school rejected him. Still he refused to accept that patients would shun him he just needed that degree. You did manage to get into medical school outside the country. Which of the university of saint spacious clubhouse. On an out of station. A small medical school in the middle of the Caribbean. Tyler graduated in 2011. And was surprised when a hospital were back in the states was willing to take a Mon boy's residency. The kind of support doctor Sean Murphy finds into the doctor we hire Sean and we make this hospital metaphor. Sean. We are better people. I can give you less than doctors who didn't believe me the good doctor's. How in the world medical schools passed on him is the comprehension. That's a shame because in this out of rocks going. Now headed pediatrics at a hospital in Mississippi Tyler says most of his patients are kids with special needs of their. Tone they've never objected to a doctor when the service dog and hazardous college advisors who told him people would not want him as their doctor. Have you ever had a single patient tell you I don't you treating me never wants better fact they ask for me. Without doctor sexting we don't know where we'd be. We were so grateful to find him. Doctor sexiness of pediatric god that I. To make his young patients feel ladies he wears superhero T shirts do you have one of those T shirts on every single day every day. And I teach kids that there's something special effects super. Raw and mine the world can see but we're all struggling something. And my disability gives me credibility.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":49833758,"title":"Real-life 'Iron Man': How paralyzed surgeon is able to perform surgeries: Part 1","duration":"8:43","description":"Dr. Chris McCulloh overcame a life-changing accident and uses a hydraulic wheel chair in the operating room.","url":"/2020/video/real-life-iron-man-paralyzed-surgeon-perform-surgeries-49833758","section":"2020","mediaType":"default"}