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Man saved by air ambulance crew after rotating blade of gardening tool became lodged in his leg

PUBLISHED: 09:46 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:01 12 December 2018

Tom Port with girlfriend Rermi and baby Oslo. Photo: East Anglian Air Ambulance

Tom Port with girlfriend Rermi and baby Oslo. Photo: East Anglian Air Ambulance

Archant

A north Norfolk man was left fighting for life when the rotating blade of a gardening machine became lodged in his leg, with air ambulance crews forced to give him general anaesthetic to lift him off.

Dr Drew Welch, from the East Anglian Air Ambulance, with Tom Port. Photo: EAAADr Drew Welch, from the East Anglian Air Ambulance, with Tom Port. Photo: EAAA

Tom Port was helping with the landscaping of a friend’s garden in June, using a rotovator to turn over the soil.

But as the father-of-one, who lives in Oulton, pushed it along, it hit something that caused it to leap back and up onto his left leg, impaling it on the blade.

One of the blades entered his thigh, rotating down into his leg with the tip of the blade existing just above his knee.

While the skin between the two points was unbroken, he was stuck over the rotovator with the blade in his leg, in immense pain and with no way of moving.

The rotovator after the incident which seriously injured Tom Port's leg. Photo: East Anglian Air AmbulanceThe rotovator after the incident which seriously injured Tom Port's leg. Photo: East Anglian Air Ambulance

Just 20 minutes later, crews from the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) arrived on scene, with Dr Drew Welch and critical care paramedics Ben Caine and Liam Sagi forced to give him a general anaesthetic in order to surgically free the blade, so he could be lifted off the machine.

Within three minutes, he was on a stretcher, placed on a ventilator and flown to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, by pilots Steve Norris and Rob Gleave, for care.

And in a remarkable recovery, just two months later Mr Port, who lives with girlfriend Remi and baby Oslo, who was just two months old at the time, was able to walk into EAAA headquarters and meet Dr Welch.

Dr Welch, said; “This was one of the most challenging situations I’ve faced since I started working on the air ambulance three years ago.

Tom Port's leg after the incident with a rotovator in June. Photo: Tom PortTom Port's leg after the incident with a rotovator in June. Photo: Tom Port

“Administering an anaesthetic to someone impaled face-down on a machine was a high-risk intervention, but with the help of the ambulance and fire crews, we ensured it was carried out in a controlled and safe manner resulting in Tom receiving prompt and effective treatment at every step of the way.”

The EAAA has launched its Together This Christmas campaign, which highlights how its vital work can bring families back together. It hopes the campaign will inspire people to donate.

• For more information on their work and how to donate, click here.

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