Surgical Tribune Asia Pacific

Australian surgeons repair man’s face after terrible chainsaw accident

By Surgical Tribune
June 08, 2016

MELBOURNE, Australia: In early May, Bill Singleton, a 68-year-old-man from Ballarat in Australia, lost control of his chainsaw while chopping wood and cut through the lower half of his face, including his jaw. Although seriously injured, he was able to wrap a towel around his face, crawl to his car and drive 25 km to the nearest hospital. From there, Singleton was flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where doctors stabilised him and performed reconstructive surgery on his face. The operation went well and Singleton has left the hospital already.

According to MailOnline, the chainsaw accidentally hit and rebounded from a large tree trunk, striking Singleton’s face next to his nose. It cut all the way down to his neck and went as far back as his third molars, knocking out his anterior teeth and cutting off part of his tongue. Fortunately, it narrowly missed his larynx and carotid artery, otherwise he would have died, his doctors stated.

As he was unable to call an ambulance and was alone on his farm, Singleton wrapped a towel around his face, got in his car and drove 25 km to the Beaufort Hospital. Arriving there, he collapsed in the car park and was flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital. The Melbourne hospital staff had to administer ten units of blood—double the amount the body carries—to stabilise him, according to the Herald Sun. They also performed a tracheotomy to ensure he could breathe.

A team of oral and maxillofacial and plastic surgeons led by Dr Alf Nastri, an associate professor at the Melbourne Dental School and head of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, performed the reconstructive surgery to repair the patient’s jaw and face. They secured Singleton’s jaw with a metal plate and screws and closed the wound in layers. The operation was successful and Singleton is recovering well. His speech is improving slowly and he is expected to undergo dental treatment within a year to replace his lost and broken teeth. Singleton, who is already back at home, gave an interview to the Australian television station Channel 7 recently, stating that he will use the chainsaw again, but very carefully.

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