A father whose hand was sliced off in a freak accident can now write his own name and grip objects again after specialist surgery.
Atushkumar Patel, 39, lost four fingers and part of his right hand when the packing machine he was cleaning at work turned on automatically.
A blade sliced into his hand and the chopped off body part was launched 25ft across the factory floor leaving stunned colleagues the task of picking up the flesh and putting it in a carrier bag.
And now after painstaking surgery and hundreds of physiotherapy sessions, the father-of-two can grip, lift objects and even write his own name again.
The specialist surgeons spent 12 hours working through the night wiring Atushkumar’s bones, tendons and nerves back together after the accident in 2012.
He had regained some movement just five weeks after the initial operation where he spent 20 days under the care of the staff at Broomfield Hospital in Essex.
Atushkumar then underwent another six-hour operation 15 days later to take skin grafts and blood vessels from his thigh in a bid to repair the hand.
Then six months ago he went under the knife once more as doctors tried to free up his joints and reduce the pain in his hand.
The miraculous recovery has seen Atushkumar lift dumbbells at home to build up his strength and last Wednesday (4/11) he returned to the world-renowned St Andrews Centre to thank staff.
He had been the sole breadwinner for his family and worked at a packing factory in Barking, London, but he has not been able to return to work during his recovery.
Atushkumar, of Forest Gate, east London, said: “I have two daughters and a wife to feed so I am determined to recover fully. They were my main motivation to keep going and get better.
“I really want to start driving again. It will take a lot of work but I’m so thankful to all the physios, nurses and surgeons.
“My family have been a great support as well. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Mak Tare, consultant plastic surgeon St Andrews, said: “I’ve not seen many injuries like this. They are less common in this country now as a lot of the processing jobs have moved to South America and Asia.
“Technically it was a very challenging operation, but it was successful and the patient was only able to make such a remarkable recovery due to his focus through the therapy that took place after.”
Mr Tare, who has worked at Broomfield for 12 years, added: “It’s a remarkably successful recovery that’s only been possible through teamwork, including the physios and nurses who have been looking after him.
“This is one of the best centres in Europe for hand trauma. We have the resources, facilities, infrastructure and skills to deal with complicated cases.
“But the most important thing is patient determination and compliance. He was really focused on getting a useful function in his hand again.”
Atushkumar now wants to start his own confectionery business and eventually get enough movement in his damaged limb to drive again.