Man lucky not to lose his arm after saw accident

A man who is lucky not to lose his arm in a ‘freak accident’ with a power saw has praised the medics who saved his life.

Phil Duggan, 53, from Dearham, was chopping wood in his storage container in Maryport on 25 March when his left arm got caught in the saw he was using.

After shutting down his chop saw he rang 999 and a road crew from the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) was dispatched to the scene.

A paramedic from the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), who was monitoring 999 calls from the North East and North West, rang Phil and used a system called GoodSAM (Smartphone Activated Medics) to access his phone’s camera to determine the severity of the incident.

Phil said: “They did a video call to assess the nature of the damage and what medical assistance was needed. After the young lady saw the footage on the phone, they immediately dispatched GNAAS.”

After the critical care team from GNAAS landed on scene, the doctor and paramedic worked alongside NWAS and members of Maryport Rescue to assess and treat Mr Phil’s injury.

Phil was given strong pain relief, including ketamine, and the doctor from GNAAS applied a dressing to his arm to control the bleeding, before deciding to airlift Phil to Royal Preston Hospital.

He said: “At the initial accident I’d lost a litre of blood in five minutes, I was literally bleeding to death. The emergency services were amazing and it was due to the speed of the aircrew being dispatched and getting me to Preston that saved my life.

“I have been told by the surgeons, by my GP and by quite a few medics, including all the physios, I had 30 minutes to live.

“I was 30 minutes from losing my life and I was ten millimetres off losing my arm.”

Phil spent three days in hospital and is now undergoing physiotherapy to help rehabilitate his arm.

He said: “It’s just going to take time and a lot of pain and discomfort, but I understand that because the damage has been horrific. It’s torn the arm muscle, but it’s also torn the shoulder right down to my fingers, so I’m literally rebuilding my entire left arm.

“I’ve got the scars there forever, but that’s a visual reminder of how lucky I was.”

Phil recently visited GNAAS’ base in Langwathby, Penrith, to thank the charity’s paramedic Andy Dalton, who was part of the team that assessed and treated his arm before airlifting him to hospital.

He said: “To say personally thank you to somebody and shake that man’s hand means so much to me and it makes me glad to be alive.

“It’s because of those three people and the whole of GNAAS, it’s not just one person, it isn’t just the aircraft and the aircrew, it’s the backing that goes with it that no-one ever sees that helped save my life.

“Without each member of the team the air ambulance service wouldn’t exist, so personally I can’t thank them enough and I will do whatever I can to support them.”

Since the incident, Phil’s workplace, PPM, has raised over £150 for GNAAS from a coffee morning and they plan to do carry out more fundraising in the future.

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