Fri, February 25, 2011
World > Asia-Pacific > Earthquake rocks New Zealand

Australian doctor uses hacksaw to amputate legs of earthquake victim

2011-02-25 05:34:51 GMT2011-02-25 13:34:51(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

CANBERRA, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- An Australian urologist on Friday described how he used a hacksaw and a utility knife to amputate the legs of a man trapped in the earthquake rubble in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Dr Stuart Phillip, 38, was one of the first people on the scene of the Pyne Gould building after the 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the South Island city at a shallow depth of just four kilometers on Tuesday.

Dr Phillip, who has arrived back in Australia on Friday, said he found one man who was pinned by the legs by a huge beam which could not be moved.

He and several other doctors, including an anaesthetist, decided they had no other option but to amputate.

"The majority of it was done with a blade from a leather-man knife and builder's hacksaw," he told ABC Local radio in Melbourne, Australia. "It's not something that's even easy for us as surgeons. Nothing prepares you for that."

Luckily they did have some form of anaesthesia to perform the operation as the aftershocks continued.

"I've never been so frightened in my life. but we just kept going," he said.

Dr Phillip said the man is doing very well, he has been out of intensive care, and his family is grateful.

Dr Phillip said he does not think himself as a hero because being a surgeon, "you can't leave people there."

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