The man who had both arms ripped off in a farming accident survived and lived to tell the tale

Joe Harker

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The man who had both arms ripped off in a farming accident survived and lived to tell the tale

Featured Image Credit: InForum/Facebook

A man who had both of his arms ripped off in a farming accident as a teenager made an incredible recovery.

Thirty years ago, North Dakotan farmer John Thompson suffered a terrible accident which nearly killed him and tore off both of his arms.

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One morning in 1992 the farmer was unloading pig feed with a grain auger when his shirt got snagged on the uncovered power takeoff (PTO) shaft.

Home alone at the time of the accident, John woke up to his dog licking his face and realised that his arms had been torn off.

With nobody around to help him, he somehow managed to walk 100 yards back to his house, getting inside by turning the door handle with his mouth, and using a pencil in his teeth to call for an ambulance on the phone.

He then put himself in the bath to avoid bleeding all over the carpet, which is an incredible thing for someone who's had both of their arms ripped off and is bleeding heavily to think of in the moment.

When he was taken to hospital he was told he 'shouldn't be alive' as there was pretty much 'no blood in you'.

John Thompson was able to regain the use of his arms after they were torn off in a farming accident. Credit: InForum
John Thompson was able to regain the use of his arms after they were torn off in a farming accident. Credit: InForum

John remembered his horrific accident and the incredible effort he put in to survive long enough for help to arrive.

He said: "I was just doing that, standing around playing with the dog and somehow I got too close to the PTO shaft.

"My shirt wasn't tucked in and they figure my shirt got wrapped up in the PTO shaft. I still remember spinning on the shaft and then my arms just finally came off, didn't feel a thing."

"It's said when I got to the emergency room at the first hospital that all my nerves were hanging out of my right arm, if they touched that it sent me through the roof but otherwise I didn't have anything."

While his arms might have been torn off in the horrific farming accident, doctors had a bold plan to undo the damage as they'd recovered his arms from the farm and planned to reattach them.

After getting his arms surgically reattached John managed to build up strength in them again. Credit: InForum
After getting his arms surgically reattached John managed to build up strength in them again. Credit: InForum

Loaded onto a plane bound for a hospital in Minnesota, John's arms were surgically reattached and he was placed into a four week coma so he could properly heal.

During that time his life was threatened by a blood infection and he needed more surgery, but eventually the procedure was a success and he went through rehabilitation to regain the use of his arms.

He got back into lifting weights to build up his strength, though admitted he never fully regained his fine motor skills.

John also admitted that he suffered some memory problems in the aftermath of his accident, he went to Washington DC several time and met then US president Bill Clinton but has 'no memory of it at all'.

What he does remember is his first ever plane journey, the one he took to hospital to get his arms reattached, and joking that his arms felt cold as they were being preserved in a box full of ice.

Topics: News, US News, Weird

Joe Harker
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