STAFF at a local firm have been praised for their actions and staying calm under pressure, after a colleague amputated his hand in a work accident.

Quick thinking by the team at Titan Garden Buildings – including making use of the office fridge – helped ensure the severed appendage could be reattached and saved.

Wally Desaunois, 75, suffered the injury while cutting wood with an electric saw at the Ripley work site. He walked over to some of his fellow carpenters, holding up his bleeding left wrist.

“All I can remember is I was cutting wood and next minute I’d cut my hand off. I grabbed my wrist to stop the bleeding,” Wally told the News & Mail. “I just thought ‘oh well, what can I do? I can’t reverse it’.

“I still don’t know what happened or what caused it. I’ve been working on machinery for the past 50 years, so I really don’t know what happened.”

Mark Daniell, the company first aider, and another carpenter helped Wally to sit on the floor and stayed with him, while John Crabb went to alert the office staff who put a tourniquet bandage around the wrist to stem the bleeding.

“We didn’t have any ice, so John went and got my hand, which was still on the machine, and put it into the office fridge,” Wally said.

His wife, Kathy, had started work in the Titan office that day.

“I had to calm myself before going to see him,” she said. “It was such a shock, but he was very calm.”

Mark called an ambulance which arrived within minutes with paramedic Jodie Nutley-West, who had been told she would be dealing with a cut hand.

“For what had happened, the scene was amazingly calm,” Jodie said.

“I was greeted by staff asking if we had any ice and a colleague sitting on the floor holding his arm up with no hand.”

Wally was taken to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London. Ninety minutes after the accident he was in surgery where his hand was reattached.

Wally said he regained some feeling the day after the accident and some movement has returned. He has since returned to work.

“I’m having another operation and have been given exercises. The doctors say that in 18 months to two years, I’ll have full use of the hand again.”

Wally and Kathy say they are very grateful to the Titan colleagues, the paramedics and staff at St George’s.

Mark, John, Angela Freeman and Fred Qureshi each received commendation awards from the chief executive of the South East Coast Ambulance Service after they were nominated by Jodie.

“It was completely incredible that they were able to save Wally’s hand and it really is thanks to their quick and calm actions,” Jodie said.

“It is something I have never seen in my career and I’m delighted that the staff at Titan Garden Buildings have got this award,” she added.