Working Fingers To The Bone


Smiths Lake woman Pam Douglas with her neighbour and rescuer Lonnie Dawson. Pam was using a drop saw when she almost cut off her thumb (courtesy Fairfax Media)

A Smiths Lake resident is lucky to have a full set of digits after the thumb-saving, First Aid efforts of her friendly neighbours.

On Sunday July 13, Smiths Lake woman Pam Douglas was chopping up an old door frame for firewood with a drop saw, when things turned to bad. Unaware that the safety guard wasn’t in place and that the blade on the drop saw was in fact still running – her hand was caught in the blade with Pam watching in horror as it cut through her thumb.

Hearing Pam’s blood-curdling screams, neighbours Lonnie and Belinda Dawson didn’t twiddle their thumbs but instead rushed next door to lend a hand. The Good Samaritans worked quickly, ringing triple 0, stabilising Pam on the front deck with a blanket and wrapping her hand up as the thumb was merely hanging on by a piece of skin. Another neighbour borrowed the Rural Fire Service’s oxygen mask to help with Pam’s breathing until an ambulance arrived.

Pam was then able to thumb a ride with a helicopter and was evacuated to Sydney’s Westmead Hospital where a plastic surgeon worked to reconnect her thumb and tendons to the rest of her hand. Pam is now recuperating in Forster Private Hospital where she’s… not going to lift a finger… until she’s made a full recovery.

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