Albany sawmill worker has arm reattached

By Natural Resource News Note:

When sawmill worker Jesse Gonzalez accidentally sliced off his right arm with a hula saw, doctors reattached the arm and had the blood flowing again within two hours of the accident.

Operating a hula saw is often considered to be the most physically demanding job at a mill. The huge blade can slice through human bone like butter.

“I felt a sting and then when I looked at my arm, I noticed it was gone and I immediately left the area to find help,” Gonzalez told the Gazette-Times.

Gonzalez (40) of Albany was working at Mary’s River Lumber Co.’s fence plant in Philomath when he severed his arm at the elbow. His co-workers scrambled to help. One applied a tourniquet, another retrieved the arm. The Philomath Fire Department medics arrived on the scene within minutes.

One hour later, Gonzalez arrived by helicopter at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland. Within 30 minutes, surgeons had threaded arteries together to get the blood flowing again. It took an additional three hours to reconnect bones, nerves, muscles, and skin. Doctors had to reconstruct the elbow.

Time will tell how much feeling and use Gonzalez will have with the arm, but doctors think he will regain some sensation and the ability to use his fingers.

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