Grandad who completely sawed his hand off while building wendy house for grandkids has it re-attached in miracle surgery and is back doing DIY
A granddad has made a miracle recovery after sawing off his HAND while building a wendy house for his grandchildren.
Stan Smith, 60, from Hull, almost lost his arm when his sleeve was dragged into a chop saw while he was building the 7ft play house.
And panicked wife Gail had to hunt through the grass to find his hand to put it in a plastic bag for paramedics as he desperately tried to stop blood gushing from the stump.
The DIY enthusiast has got his hand back to almost perfect working condition but has put the Wendy house project on hold… so he can build a 32m kitchen extension!
Stan said: “At first, there was just all this gushing blood and I didn’t know what had happened.
“Then I realised I didn’t have a hand anymore.
“But you can’t let little things like this stop you so I bought another saw as soon as I could.
“My wife wasn’t quite so happy about that!”
Stan had gone out into his garden to work on a stunning wooden Wendy house as a surprise present for his two granddaughters Madelaine, seven, and Jasmine, five.
Feeling the nip in the air he decided he needed a jumper and went back into the house to fetch one.
But once he was back at the saw, his sleeve became trapped and the blade sliced of his hand.
Keeping calm, the electrical engineering teacher managed to put pressure on his gushing wound and wander into the house to let his wife know that she needed to call 999.
“She knew exactly what I had done by the way I was holding my arm and she went into shock,” said Stan.
“If I’d have fainted, it could have been fatal as my wife was inside the house doing the cleaning and didn’t know a thing about it.
“I was calm and I stayed outside on the patio. When the ambulance arrived, I asked my wife to go and find my hand and put it in a plastic bag.”
Just 20 minutes later Stan had arrived at Hull Royal Infirmary, with his hand in a bag, where he underwent emergency seven-hour surgery when plastic surgeon Alastair Platt, assisted by orthopaedic surgeon Niloy Roy and associate specialist Sameh Bibawy, battled to reattach his hand.
After another five-hour operation the next day, Stan spent just five days in hospital before returning home, desperate to get back in his garden to carry on work.
Incredibly, physiotherapy meant that within a week of being home he could wiggle the tips of his fingers and was back driving after three months.
And less than a year later Stan was back working his garden, this time on a kitchen extension for his home.
He said: “This hasn’t put me off at all – you can’t sit back and let accidents like this worry you – you’ve got to get on with life.
“I kept the tendons stretching and the muscles tensing and the movement has come back – it’s 70% of what it was originally and it came back naturally.
“People have said that I’m a medical miracle – my surgeon Mr Platt said the operation was remarkable and he was very proud of his work – and I do realise how very lucky I am.
“At the time I just understood what I’d done and what I had to do.
“There were times since when I thought I would never get the use of my hand again but, fortunately, because the treatment I’ve had, I can do most of the things I did before.
“The hospital and rehab teams have been absolutely fantastic.
“I’ve just had another operation to give me even more flexibility.
“Some more intricate things are harder to do because I don’t have the same dexterity but I’m fine with lifting and carrying.”
Amazingly, the inside of Stan’s wrist bears just a few scars, the trauma from May 2013 is barely visible on the back of his hand.
“My hand was still on the saw before Gail went to fetch it so we threw that one away.
“I bought another as soon as I could – I can’t do my DIY without it.
“Gail wasn’t too pleased. The whole experience has probably been more traumatic for her than me.
“But it’s like falling off a horse, you need to get straight back on again.”
“Obviously my granddaughters were worried when they found out even though they were very young.
“The Wendy house is still waiting to be finished because I’ve been busy with a much bigger project – the extension – but I’ll be onto it as soon as the weather picks up a bit.
“I’ll just make sure I roll my sleeves up before I start!”