Tree surgeon speaks about the accident in which he almost beheaded himself

A TREE surgeon who severed his neck and arm with a chainsaw 20ft up a tree has praised his colleagues and Magpas Helimedix for saving his life.

Tom Connelly, 21, was just finishing off a job near Guyhirn when he fell on his chainsaw and cut through at least a third of his neck. He thanked his colleagues for their quick reactions when they spotted he was trouble.

He said: “It was an everyday job, but I slipped off my chainsaw irons onto my saw. I managed to hit it with my neck, unfortunately, severing most of the vessels. I cut through my jugular vein.

“The doctors reckoned I was about 1mm away from cutting through my carotid artery.

“From touching your jugular vein they reckon you have four minutes before bleeding out.”

Dr James French, a Magpas medic who attended the incident, said: “When we got there, there was a young man with a very large wound in the side of his neck with, literally, blood spurting out of it.

“We sedated him and made him comfortable and then packed the wound with this gauze that’s used in Afghanistan to treat combat wounds.”

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Mr Connelly has undergone nerve grafts and could regain 90% mobility in that arm after he cut nerves in his shoulder.

He said he was back at work, but hadn’t been up a tree since the accident.

Mr Connelly said: “It’s only thanks to my colleagues, the staff at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and the Magpas team that I’m here today

“You try to express emotions for it but you just can’t put it into words. I wouldn’t be standing here if it weren’t for these blokes. It’s quite a powerful emotion.”

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