Here, Cameron, 44 tells the story in his own words.
D￼ad, can I help you?’ my son Tyler, then 11, begged. ‘Sure,’ I replied.
I was doing the lawn, and Tyler loved riding the mower. He stood behind me on the mower, hands firmly on my shoulders. I didn’t think it could do any harm, but suddenly I heard a piercing cry and realised Tyler had fallen.
Shockingly, his hand had been caught in the blade. It was bleeding badly. Worse, his thumb had disappeared. ‘Help!’ he screamed.
As I yelled for my wife, Jaqui, 38, to call an ambulance, I raced to my son, using a towel to bind up the wound. To my horror, not only was his thumb missing, but his index finger was hanging by a thread. After telephoning for help, Jaqui rushed out to the yard and was stunned to see his injuries. She tended to Tyler, while I, panic-stricken, combed the yard searching for Tyler’s thumb.
Finally I found it –badly damaged – and packed it in ice, hoping it could be reattached. I can’t believe this is happening, I thought. Tyler sat quietly on the couch in shock as we waited for the ambulance. Within five minutes, the medics had arrived and they raced him to nearby tiny Kingaroy Hospital.
‘We need to get him to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital,’ the doctor there told us. ‘The Flying Doctors are on their way.’
Soon I was at my son’s side, flying to Brisbane, while Jaqui arranged to drive to the hospital after organising care for our other children,
Jordyn, then nine, and Jacob, 16. I fought back tears as I looked at my brave boy. ‘Dad, it’s okay,’ he said.
At Lady Cilento, the surgeon told us bad news. ‘I’m afraid the thumb is too badly damaged to reconnect,’ he said. But, luckily, they could save his index finger. During surgery, a steel pin was placed in the finger to help the bone regrow.
A few days later, Tyler’s surgeon had a proposition. They could move his saved finger and turn it into a thumb, giving him better grip. Thinking it over, Tyler agreed. So three months later, Tyler went under the knife again.
Now 14, he’s doing well with his new thumb.Tyler, who is sports crazy, found it a struggle to cope with all the surgery at times. But thankfully, he’s now found some new hobbies.
When his Nan, Roz, gave him a book about magic tricks, he took to it. He loves entertaining family and friends with his magic. And he can play the drums again.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that the accident was nobody’s fault. But I’ve sold the mower and I’d urge all parents to learn from our story.
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