Cedars-Sinai Blog

Amputation Isn't Slowing Down Deputy Garrett Rifkin

Cedars-Sinai patient and LA County Sheriff's Deputy Garrett Rifkin

"It took me 3 hours to decide. I expected to wake up after the accident without my leg so I was already mentally prepared for it."

Facing amputation

At the hospital, a team led by Dr. Charles Moon from the Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedic Trauma Program tried to save Garrett's leg.

Finally Garrett faced a choice: He could keep trying to save the limb—which would mean dozens of complicated surgeries and possibly a lifetime of pain and walking with a limp—or he could amputate.

"I've always wanted to be a cop and this wasn't going to stop me."

Deputy Garrett Rifkin on the road to recovery.

Road to recovery

After a few days at California Rehabilitation Institute, Garrett went home to start his new normal.

Only 3 months after the accident, he returned to work.

Garrett comes from a family of law enforcement officers. His dad was a deputy sheriff, his brother is an LAPD officer. It was all he ever wanted to do and the idea of retiring at 25 didn't sit well.

"I was bored. There's only so much TV you can watch," says Garrett.

"People were dumbfounded when I went to back to work, but I've always wanted to be a cop and this wasn't going to stop me."

Now he wants to inspire other people facing obstacles. He talks to patients waiting for surgery and does public speaking engagements about his life as an amputee.

After adjusting to his prosthetic leg, Garrett is confident he made the right choice.

He still feels phantom pains from his amputated foot and he's grappling with some anxiety from the collision, but he's determined to not let his amputation slow him down.

"I have no regrets," Garrett says. "Losing my leg has given me so many more opportunities to help people."