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Chef's miraculous recovery after slicing through arm in horrific chainsaw incident

PUBLISHED: 08:38 08 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:10 08 May 2019

James Mortimer shows his scar on his left arm from slicing through it with a chainsaw while cutting a tree down. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

James Mortimer shows his scar on his left arm from slicing through it with a chainsaw while cutting a tree down. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

A Norfolk head chef has made a remarkable return to work - three weeks after he sliced halfway through his arm with a chainsaw.

James Mortimer's scar on his left arm from slicing through it with a chainsaw while cutting a tree down. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJames Mortimer's scar on his left arm from slicing through it with a chainsaw while cutting a tree down. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

James Mortimer was cutting down a tree at a family member's home when he slipped and dropped the chainsaw, causing a severe injury that triggered a swift 999 call-out.

Amid fears that he would lose the use of his arm, speedy medics rushed him to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) where skilled surgeons stitched his tendons, nerves and muscles back together.

Now the 33-year-old head chef at the Marsham Arms in Hevingham is back in the kitchen - and thankful to the medical staff who saved his arm.

Mr Mortimer, from Dereham, told how the emergency happened on April 11: "I lost my footing, I put my arm out to try and steady myself and while I was taking my left hand off, my right hand didn't have the strength and I dropped the chainsaw, and 50pc of my arm was exposed."

James Mortimer's bandaged arm after he sliced through it with a chainsaw while cutting down a tree. Picture: James MortimerJames Mortimer's bandaged arm after he sliced through it with a chainsaw while cutting down a tree. Picture: James Mortimer

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Mr Mortimer, who used to be in the fire service, said he knew the initial steps to take.

He said: "I didn't pass out, I've seen a lot of terrible stuff being in the fire service, but I had to take control. The first thing I did was check I could use my extremities, and I could, so I knew that whatever I had done it was going to be alright."

Emergency services were called and Mr Mortimer, who lost one-and-a-half pints of blood, said a first responder arrived and then Ryan Warwick, a critical care paramedic with the Norfolk Accident Rescue Service (NARS). He was followed by a three-man crew from the ambulance service.

James Mortimer with his wife, Jenna, and daughter, Aiya-Grace, with their dogs, Sausage and Daisy. Picture: James MortimerJames Mortimer with his wife, Jenna, and daughter, Aiya-Grace, with their dogs, Sausage and Daisy. Picture: James Mortimer

"I was more worried about my family than anything else," said Mr Mortimer, who has 10-month-old daughter Aiya-Grace with wife Jenna. "How it was going to impact one my little girl and my wife, if I was going to lose a percentage of my arm."

Mr Mortimer said he was the "talk of the emergency department" as clinicians all wanted to look at his injury. He was kept in overnight and after five hours in surgery the next day he was able to go home.

Although he has not got a lot of feeling in his arm, it is expected to return. But he was full of praise for emergency services, and said: "Someone was watching over me that day. They were brilliant, very professional, really quick, it's seamless."

- Mr Mortimer is now fundrasing for NARS, to donate click here.

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