Hand severed in Idaho industrial accident miraculously reattached




Posted on December 12, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 12 at 8:00 PM

ST. MARIES, Idaho -- Doctors said a North Idaho man was making a miraculous recovery after a work-related accident in left his entire right hand severed.

Lewis Layman was splitting wood at a lumber mill near St. Maries in November when his hand was cut off. 

"I didn't see it. I just felt a crunch and a burn, a real bad burn," Layman said.  "I just grabbed my wrist [and] there was no hand on it.  And I grabbed my wrist, and I knew I was going to die if I didn't get help."

Thinking fast, a coworker wrapped his wrist in a towel and drove him to the hospital in St. Maries.  Meanwhile, another coworker saved his hand just in the nick of time from being a complete loss.

"They found my hand two to three feet from the top of the conveyor belt that was going into the chipper" said Layman.

From St. Maries, Layman was taken to Coeur d'Alene where he was then flown on a jet to Harborview in Seattle.  Thirteen hours of surgery followed.  Incredibly, doctors reattached his hand.

Layman said he was still in a lot of pain, but was thankful to be with his fiancée and four children.

"But I'm glad I have God in my life as well. I do," he added.

Layman is now beginning the long road to recovery.  He and his family planned to move to Hayden, Idaho where he undergoes physical therapy three days a week.