Back in September 2012 William Bartlett was casually doing a run of the mill D.I.Y task when he accidently cut his own finger off. Exactly a week earlier he had completed a series of first aid training courses that seemed a distance memory at the time. Could he recall what he had learnt to save his finger? Or would the injury become a whole lot worst?
It was exactly one week later on a sunny afternoon in London, England when William had decided to complete the renovation of his garden. The final stage involved removing an old apple tree that had long died, and the replacing it with a new barbeque area. The day was going to plan and William was just about to take lunch when disaster struck.
He had hired a chain saw from a local shop, and was a confident user after a spell working as a tree surgeon in his late teens. It was either tiredness or rustiness that got the better of him however as he slipped from a stump and inadvertently sawed through his right index finger. At first he simply stared at the new stump on his hand waiting for the finger to reappear, or to be woken out of the nightmare.
William then realised that he needed to think quickly in order to save his finger. He was able to talk us through step by step how he saved his finger, and the exact same protocol can be used by anyone who finds themselves in the same situation:
Step 1 - Control any blood loss:
"The first problem I had was that there was a lot of blood coming out of my new jagged stump. I didn't have to time to flap around with a first aid kit, so to counteract the problem I wrapped my t-shirt around the wound as tightly as I could. Making sure to apply pressure directly over the wound itself".
William showed quick thinking in this situation as controlling blood loss is always number one priority. Once the bleeding is under control you can think about moving to the next step.
Step 2 - Wrap the amputated body part up:
"Next I really had to start thinking about what I had learnt on the course. I knew that the bleeding was under control, but understandably wanted to save my finger if at all possible. By thinking hard I remembered that my instructor had told me to wrap the finger in a plastic material and then into a cloth".
You should wrap any amputated body part in a plastic material like cling film or carrier bag. This ensures that it won't stick to the limb.
Step 3 - Put the limb in an ice bucket:
"I was just about to dash to the hospital when a distant thought entered my frantic mind. I suddenly remembered my instructor telling me to put a body part in a bucket of ice to preserve it. Crikey I was glad I hadn't fallen asleep on the course".
Wrapping the body part in ice will stop the finger from decomposing, and essentially keep the tissues fresh. Combining steps 2 & 3 successfully gives surgeons the best opportunity to stitch a finger back on.
Leading mountain rescue volunteer Geoff Goond believes "life is for learning", and has an infectious passion for first aid. Would you know what to do if you lost a finger? If not then visit the first aid training courses blog @ http://www.train-aid.co.uk for video tutorials.