Christopher Wright, age 57, who chopped off his left hand in a horrific industrial accident, has thanked the amazing staff who have saved his hand.
“Whilst working on a cardboard cartons machine, the chains grabbed my overalls and pulled my hand in to the machine. I heard a snap noise and at that moment I knew I had lost my hand.
“After going on a first aid responder course a couple of years back, my training from then instantly kicked in. I grabbed my arm out of the machine, squeezed it and called for help. I called for a first aider who then called for an ambulance. I remained conscious for the whole time that this was happening.”
After the ambulance was called, Christopher, and his hand closely next to him in a separate and secure bag, were taken to University Hospitals of North Midlands Major Trauma Centre. From UHNM, Christopher was then transferred to the Royal Derby Hospital Pulvertaft Hand Centre by North Wales Air Ambulance where he was greeted by Miss Mary O’Brien, Consultant Hand and Plastic Surgeon, and the rest of her team.
The Pulvertaft Hand Centre Team then performed an eleven and a half hour operation which saw Christopher’s hand be reattached to his forearm. Christopher has lost his little finger and 6cm from his arm where it had to be cut to create a smooth surface for the reattachment. Miraculously, seven days on from the accident, he now has his hand back and some movement in his fingers and thumb.
Miss Mary O’Brien, Consultant Plastic and Hand Surgeon based at the Pulvertaft Hand Centre, said: “Mr Wright is an incredibly inspirational patient. He has a very positive outlook and is motivated in the face of what has been a life changing industrial injury.”
“The operation on Mr Wright’s hand was the result of a highly coordinated response from so many professionals working efficiently together. This included the ambulance and helicopter crew who brought Mr Wright to the Emergency department, the Pulvertaft Hand Centre theatre team who performed the surgery whilst supported by their anaesthetic colleagues and subsequently nursing and therapy staff on the ward and in the clinic."
“Due to the nature of the injury, the surgery came with additional challenges; this resulted in an eleven and a half hour operation to reattach Mr Wright’s amputated hand. This was an extremely complex procedure which involved five Consultant Surgeons from the Pulvertaft Hand Centre as well as a wider multi-disciplinary team. The combined skill set of the team with backgrounds including Plastic and Orthopaedic training was fundamental to achieving the very positive outcome that at this early stage we are all so pleased to witness"
“Although we look after many patients with a range of different types of injury, it is very unusual to replant a whole hand. This is not just a physical injury but has a huge psychological impact on a patient and it is vital that mixed skill sets are involved to support patients with these injuries both immediately and in the months to follow to achieve a good outcome. It's a testament to the ability and professionalism of the whole team to come together despite a pandemic that makes it such a privilege to be part of the Pulvertaft Hand Centre."
Christopher said: “The work the surgeons and staff have done is absolutely amazing – they are unbelievable people. There are no words that can express how thankful I am to all of the teams that have cared for me. Everyone has been amazing, and so kind – not just to me, they have been so supportive to my wife back at home too.
Although Christopher’s wife, Elaine, couldn’t visit him in hospital due to the on-going pandemic, they have kept in touch through regular calls on Facetime.