Bungay: Builder relives the horror of severing his hand with a circular saw

A MOMENTARY lapse of concentration for builder Harry Wones resulted in the most horrific of accidents.

The 33-year-old was working on a circular saw when he was distracted, resulting in his hand almost being amputated.

However, during a lengthy and complex operation, surgeons successfully re-attached the builder’s severed hand.

Now, Mr Wones has praised and thanked the surgeons at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after they worked around the clock to successfully re-attach the hand in a 10-hour operation.

Mr Wones was working on a house in Wells on the north Norfolk coast on February 4 when he momentarily lost concentration and the saw sliced through the palm of his hand, leaving it attached by just a piece of skin.


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He was rushed by air ambulance to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where plastic surgeons worked until the early hours of the morning as they battled to save his hand.

The team, led by consultant plastic surgeon Andrea Figus, took a vein from Mr Wones foot to reconstruct the arteries in the palm of his hand and restore the flow of blood to his fingers.

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Reliving the incident, Mr Wones, from Ellingham, near Bungay, said: “I was working on a holiday home in Wells and was using a chop saw.

“It is a piece of equipment I use all the time. I just lost concentration and it went through my hand.

“I shouted to my colleague and he ran outside to the next door neighbour, who luckily was a retired doctor.

“My hand felt like it was on fire, and I assumed it must be fairly bad. They call it a semi-amputation – it was hanging on by the thumb.”

He added: “The air ambulance came and landed on the high school playing field. I was conscious all the time, but I don’t remember arriving at the hospital.

“I underwent 10 hours of surgery as I had severed everything from the bones, tendons, veins and nerves.”

Mr Wones later underwent another operation on one of his fingers and spent two weeks recuperating on the hospital’s Coltishall Ward.

Last night he praised everyone who had played a role in caring for him, particularly Mr Figus and his team who he described as “first class”.

“They were not just doing their job they went above and beyond,” he said. “Mr Figus was so positive. It is amazing what they can do at the N&N.

“I like to think of myself as a pretty normal bloke. It is easy to moan about paying taxes and then something like this happens and it is all there for you. I want to say a massive thank you to everyone, from the doctor who helped me, to the air ambulance, the surgeons and the staff on the Coltishall Ward and the physiotherapists.”

Mr Wones praised his wife Valerie, 35, and son Jack, 6, for their support, along with other family and friends who rallied round.

He is receiving physiotherapy at the hospital twice a week and said it is early days in terms of his recovery.

Last night Mr Figus – a former professional footballer with Italian Serie A side Cagliari described the operation as “very complex and technically demanding” and praised the other members of the team, fellow plastic surgery consultants Guido Koehler and Richard Haywood and consultant orthopaedic surgeon Peter Chapman.

He said that Mr Wones was lucky not to lose his hand or any of his fingers.

“The surgery went really smoothly,” he said. “The first thing is to reposition the bones, followed by the tendons and the blood vessels. Then you reattach the nerves and the veins as well. He was very lucky because he did not lose anything and we were able to save his hand.

“In terms of function he won’t recover completely 100pc because all structures have been completely cut.

“What we eventually hope is to give him the pinch function. Hopefully if he recovers 50pc of the function he had before that would be a great result, but at the moment he has a very long journey.”

He added: “It was very much a team effort and a multi-cultural one too as I am Italian and Guido is German. We are very happy with the surgical result and positive for the functional outcome.”

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