‘Medical science saved my arm’

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THE MAYOR of Pocklington was warned that the blood-curdling accident in which his arm became trapped in an industrial printing press could have cost him a limb - had the accident happened 20 years ago.

Doctors admitted to lucky councillor, Martin Cooper, that advances in medical science helped saved his shredded left arm, and they would have had no option but too amputate had he been rushed into hospital in the 1990s.

Coun Cooper suffered the horror injury when his arm became caught between two heavy-duty rollers at his place of work, East Riding Sacks at Full Sutton.

Firefighters and paramedics were called to free him from the machine which had torn the tissue from the bone from his elbow to his wrist as he struggled in vain to release himself. He was also airlifted by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary.

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But now a month on, the 48-year-old has already undergone two operations and has reflected on the incident which he admits could have been far worse.

“There’s still some regeneration to be done- I will be scarred but it won’t be as bad as it could have been.

“I can’t remember exactly how it happened, and it’s probably not something I think I want to remember!

“The doctors were very straight with me though, they said that had it happened 10 or 20 years ago, they would have had to cut it off, no question.

“I’m so lucky in so many different ways, but it does not bare thinking about.”

Still bandaged, his arm is still heavily swollen and he admits to only just beginning to get some slight movement and sensation.

He underwent a first operation to determine how much could be saved after the rollers had pulled most of the flesh from his elbow down to his wrist.

The second operation involved skin graft taken from his thigh to place onto the damaged arm, along with advanced grafting materials and techniques, including the use of pig skin to helped speed up the recovery process.

He added: “I’m getting some functionality back in it and I’m starting physiotherapy which is really painful. But I’m hoping that the more physio I do now the sooner I will be back at work.

“At the moment I’m getting sharp pains from the nerves, they can last between 10 and 20 seconds, but it’s positive because it shows the nerves are regenerating.”

This week he returned to East Riding Sacks to visit work colleagues , and even face the printing press which could have severed his limb.

“It was nice to see everybody, and I saw the machine and wondered if I would be tentative about it but there are no hang ups. The company have been very good and their attitude has been of the highest order. It’s good to know that everybody is routing for me.

“I’ve got some very good friends who have been giving me a lift to the Leeds General Infirmary.

“Even the people I don’t know have been fantastic, they’ve come up to me in the street asking me how I am- it makes you feel proud of the people of Pocklington.”

He also warned people about the dangers of working with heavy machinery, having spent three decades in the industry.

“I have worked for 30 years, 26 with this particular machine so it could happen to anyone.”

Meanwhile, Councillor Cooper is set to hand over his mayor chains next Friday as his year in office at Pocklington Town Council draws to a close. Despite his injury, he has been making final preparations for tonight’s Pocklington Presents talent show at the Arts Centre.

Over 15 acts will be taking to the stage with the hope of winning a £100 first prize. Entry is £5 for audience members, who will be given the chance to vote to the winners.

The doors open at 7pm and tickets can be bought on the door. All proceeds will go towards local causes.