Toowoomba teenager, Ned Desbrow, has been reunited with the team of first responders, who saved his life in May 2019.
He says a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into getting him to the emotional reunion at the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter base today.
“It wasn’t my time to go out.
“I just didn’t want to believe it, so I just kept fighting and fighting,” he said.
The then 18-year-old was operating a skidder on a property in Tara, last year, when his left leg was caught up by a wire, being towed at the rear.
Ned said he thought releasing the line would help free him, but it kept pulling his limb into the heavy machinery.
“It kept on pulling and basically got up to my hip, until there was only 100mm left of my femur.”
Two RACQ LifeFlight Rescue aeromedical crews, Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics, Queensland Fire and Emergency Service firefighters and local medical professionals were urgently called to the paddock.
Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Flight Paramedic, Peter Scullett-Dean, said the severity of the injury caught everyone by surprise.
“From his toe, all the way up to the upper-third of his thigh, was entwined onto the winch drum,” he said.
After several hours of trying to free Ned and lengthy consultation, the difficult decision was made to amputate his left leg at the scene, in order to free him from the machinery and save his life.
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Critical Care Doctor, Martin Londahl, said he wasn’t sure Ned would make it, but the in-field surgery was his best hope of survival.
“His chances of making it through were very, very slim.
“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.”
Emergency services were on the phone to Ned’s mum, Melita Carlyon, throughout the ordeal.
“They said that, because of the blood loss, there was a high chance he could die.
“He said to me, that day on the phone, he said ‘Mum, I’m not going to die,’ and he proved it.”
“I just want to say thank you to LifeFlight and all these guys,” she said.
Ned said he woke up in a hospital bed the next day.
“I was alive and breathing and that’s all I could have asked for.”
Eight months on, Ned says while his life has significantly changed, the accident has strengthened his resolve to live a long, normal life.
“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.
“It’s inspired me,” Ned said.
That fighting spirit is clear in the teenager; Ned is already back riding his beloved motorbike and skateboard and has even started his own clothing line, ‘Funky G’s’.
He says he owes his life to Dr Londahl and the emergency services personnel who came to his aid that fateful day and is grateful for the chance to say thank you.