George (6) loses finger in six-hour mincer ordeal

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A six-year-old is recovering from the ordeal of losing a finger after getting his arm trapped in an industrial meat mincer.

George L’Estrange had been making sausages with his dad Henry at their home in Gosberton, but when dad turned his back for a second the youngster put his arm into the machine and got stuck.

Henry said: “Everything happened so quickly.

“I’m a keen cook, and have made sausages with my sons a number of occasions.

“George had been using the machine safely for some time, but in the blink of an eye he pushed his hand in and got it stuck.

“I called 999 and the man on the end of the phone gave me advice on making George as comfortable as possible while waiting for the ambulance and fire service.”

Emergency services rushed to the scene but were unable to free George’s arm, so he was transferred to Boston’s Pilgrim – where his distraught family were told he could lose his hand and forearm.

Surgeons and nurses were helped by firefighters, who accompanied the ambulance, to try to remove the mincer – calling on all the fire crews’ specialist equipment including an electric saw, pedal cutter and cutting and spreading tools.

But all efforts failed and they were forced to call on a Boston tradesman, who opened up his shop to lend two different sized angle grinders.

George’s ordeal was not yet over, as there was a risk of sparks from the angle grinder igniting oxygen tanks in the hospital room as well as the danger of using such a tool so close to George’s arm.

Keiron Davey, technical CFP manager at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “George was so brave. Despite having obviously painful injuries, he remained completely calm throughout the process. He only cried when he was given an anaesthetic injection!

“This rescue was an excellent example of firefighters using all their skills and knowledge to the absolute supreme degree – thinking outside the box, adapting and improvising.

“There were some professionally calculated high risks taken at times and this resulted in an excellent outcome.

“At one time I counted 15 people around George’s hospital bed and everyone played a crucial part.”

George was then transferred to Derby hospital where he had nine operations in the specialist hand unit.

Henry added: “George had numerous operations to complete skin grafts and reattach tendons, which hopefully will make his hand better.

“Sadly, the team couldn’t save his middle finger, which has had to be amputated – a remarkable outcome given the circumstances of the accident.

“Although multiple fractures and significant cuts and bruises to his hand, George is now at home with us and recovering well. He’s learning how to use his left hand, is writing and drawing and making Lego.

“Although a really unfortunate accident, I’m so proud of George. He’s so brave.

“With continued support and excellent care we are determined he will make the very best of the situation, and not let it hold him back.”