WARNING - GRAPHIC CONTENT: A NSW man is lucky to be alive after his leg became impaled by a tree branch during “a freak accident” while collecting firewood.
Doctors told the 31-year-old the impact was just millimetres from his main artery and he came close to losing his leg. The injury could have even been fatal.
Rob Wells said he was driving his farm buggy at a property about 20 kilometres west of Camden, south-west of Sydney, when a wattle tree branch came up between the brake and accelerator pedals and pierced straight through his leg.
He was only driving about 10km/h at the time. “I wasn't going fast, I wasn't being silly [it was] just a freak accident,” he wrote on Facebook.
Gory pictures of the horror July 21 accident show how the branch punctured his right leg, entering just below the knee, then exiting through his thigh.
“I struggled to hold myself as the wattle tree had pushed me out of the seat and pinned me for an hour and a half while emergency services cut the tree and finally got me on the way to the hospital,” Mr Wells wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to support him.
He said the force of the impact was enough to stop the buggy and stall the motor.
“Later that night I was admitted in to emergency surgery to remove the tree, they basically butterflied my leg open from my inner thigh/groin to my ankle to flush the wound and repair the muscle,” he wrote.
“I have nerve damage and it was a couple of millimetres from my main artery. It didn’t hit bone and I’m thankful I still even have a leg.”
Mr Wells hoped by sharing the confronting images others might realise “how something so simple can put you out for quite some time”.
“If we can share it around and let people know how quickly life can change, especially if you are someone who loves to ride motorcycles in the Bush or 4x4ing, buggy’s (sic) or family fun days with kids on bikes, let everyone understand that a simple tree/branch can stop you in your tracks literally,” he posted to Facebook on Saturday.
“The amount of stupid things we've done and this happens when I'm doing the right thing. Got me beat hey,” he responded to a mate online.
Long road to recovery ahead
Mr Wells said it was too early to tell how the injury will impact his ability to walk, as he is currently on crutches but cannot bend his right leg or put any weight on it.
“I'm going to be out for some time but I'm greatful (sic) of the outcome considering what happened,” he wrote on Facebook.
He faces a long stint away from his job as a leading hand for an excavation company, as well as escalating hospital and physiotherapy bills. His crowdfunding campaign has so far raised just over $7,000 of its $15,000 goal.
Financial hurdles aside, Mr Wells said he was grateful to be alive, but anticipated a long road to recovery ahead.
Trying to keep positive, he joked the incident would make a good campfire story someday.
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