Teen sucked into farm machine has leg amputated to escape death

Olivia Lambert
Associate News Editor

A Queensland teen has dredged up the memory of almost losing his life after a horrific accident on a farm.

Ned Desbrow, 18, was operating a skidder on a property in Tara, about two hours from Toowoomba, in May last year when his leg was caught up in a wire.

As he tried to free himself, it kept sucking him into the heavy machinery, used to cut trees out of forests.

Ned Desbrow had his leg amputated in the middle of a field in May last year. Source: RACQ LifeFlight Rescue

“It kept on pulling and basically got up to my hip, until there was only 100mm left of my femur,” he told RACQ’s LifeFlight as he reunited with the first responders who saved his life.

The only choice for Mr Desbrow at that time was to have his leg amputated, or die.

“From his toe, all the way up to the upper-third of his thigh, was entwined onto the winch drum.” Queensland Ambulance Service flight paramedic Peter Scullett-Dean said.

Rescuers tried for several hours to free Mr Desbrow from the wire but the only option was amputation.

Ned Desbrow has adapted to life since his amputation. Source: RACQ LifeFlight Rescue

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Critical Care Doctor Martin Londahl said he didn’t think the teen would make it out alive and the emergency in-field surgery was his only hope.

“His chances of making it through were very, very slim,” he said.

"We said that what we would do, is get everything set up and optimise it, as much as we can, give him the absolute best shot we can and we did," Dr Londahl said.

"We succeeded and it's absolutely amazing."

Ned Desbrow in hospital with his mother Melita Carlyon. Source: RACQ LifeFlight Rescue

‘Mum, I’m not going to die’

Mr Desbrow’s mother Melita Carlyon was on the phone to emergency services throughout the ordeal.

“They said that because of the blood loss there was a high chance he could die,” she told LifeFlight.

“He said to me that day on the phone, he said, ‘Mum, I’m not going to die’, and he proved it.”

Ms Carlyon expressed her gratitude to LifeFlight for saving her son and the teen recalled his relief as he woke in hospital the next day.

“I was alive and breathing and that’s all I could ask for,” he said.

“It wasn’t my time to go out.

Ned Desbrow has LifeFlight to thank for saving his life. Source: RACQ LifeFlight Rescue

“I just didn’t want to believe it, so I just kept fighting and fighting.”

It’s now been eight months since Mr Desbrow suffered his accident and he has adapted to life with one leg, and claims it has made him stronger.

“I’ve always wanted to be remembered by something and not leave the world, without making my mark, and that’s exactly what this accident has done for me,” he said.

“It’s inspired me.”

According to LifeFlight, Mr Desbrow said he owes his life to Dr Londahl and all the emergency workers who were at the scene.

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