December 30, 2008
Severed-arm man hopes to return to garden
A British man says he hopes to return to his garden to plant tomatoes, four months after surgery to reattach an arm he accidentally cut off with a chainsaw.
Stirling, 59, of Peacehaven, near Brighton, cut off his left arm below the elbow in September when he slipped while trimming a tree in his yard.
I was trying my fork and spade one-handed over Christmas -- and I'm very optimistic about putting my tomato seeds in in January, John Stirling told The Times of London.
I was so preoccupied with surviving that I discounted the arm, he told the newspaper.
I left it on the lawn and thought, 'That's the last I'll see of that.'
Gripping his wound with his right hand to staunch the bleeding, he ran along a road to get help.
He eventually found neighbor Steve Francis at home and kicked the door rather than remove his hand from his injured arm to knock.
So the first thing was I apologized for kicking his door and then said, 'I've cut my arm off'. But he could see that, Stirling said.
Francis tied Stirling's arm with a belt and a towel and recovered the arm from Stirling's lawn, putting it in a bag of frozen sausage rolls to keep it cold, the Times said.
Twelve surgeons at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead reattached the limb in two operations lasting almost 18 hours.