‘I saw my leg was gone’

2016-03-22 12:30
Howick High pupil Joshua Jacobs is still full of smiles at his home after his leg was severed in a motorcycle accident last month.

Howick High pupil Joshua Jacobs is still full of smiles at his home after his leg was severed in a motorcycle accident last month. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - With half his leg torn off in an accident, a young Howick Scout ignored his excruciating pain and instead used his know-ledge of first aid to stay alive.

Now in recovery, 16-year-old Howick High School pupil and Scouts patrol leader Joshua Jacobs told of how he endured agonising pain to treat his own wounds after his leg was severed in a motorcycle accident last month.

Joshua’s story has captured the hearts of his small home town and has inspired young Cubs and other Scouts to learn first aid.

On Tuesday, February 16, Joshua — an avid squash and hockey player — left a Howick gym on his motorbike as rain started to bucket down.

'I freaked out'

On Mare Street, just opposite Amberfield Retirement Village, Joshua was thrown off his motorcycle and sent somersaulting when a bakkie reversed into him while exiting a house.

The impact hurled Joshua into the air and sent him sliding on his back across the wet tarmac. He eventually landed about 20 metres away on the opposite side of the road.

“I was still conscious when I landed and I think with the adrenaline, the pain was minimal. My first instinct was to get up and check on my bike,” he said.

It was only when the brave teenager tried to stand up that he noticed that his left leg was completely severed below the knee. “It felt as though my leg was still there. When I saw that it was not, I freaked out for about a minute and started screaming and swearing. I must have woken all the Amberfield residents,” Joshua said, as he pointed to the tightly wrapped bandage where his leg used to be.

Using his level three first aid training — which is one level below Basic Life Support — and eight years of expertise at the First Howick Cubs and Scouts, Joshua said he calmed down and began to assess the environment around him.

“I noticed rainwater was gushing next to me on the roadside so I knew I had to get myself away to avoid hypothermia, especially with all the bleeding.”

The teenager hauled himself up onto the pavement just as two good Samaritans came to his aid.

Makeshift tourniquet

One of the men helped guide the traffic while the other, under Joshua’s instruction, removed his shirt to construct a makeshift tourniquet.

“I also knew I had to raise my leg to slow down the blood flow,” he said.

Joshua instructed the man to bring him an umbrella and, once he was sheltered, calmly called his family to notify them of the accident.

“I asked the man if he knew where my leg was and asked him to fetch it. I really hoped it could be reattached,” he said.

Paramedics soon arrived and Joshua was rushed to the Life Hilton Hospital where he was taken to theatre and spent four days in recovery.

“I was more upset that doctors had to cut up my new original Manchester City football shirt,” Joshua said, chuckling as he pointed to a finger which was crushed in the accident and had to be amputated below the nail.

Undeterred by his injuries, Joshua is focussing on his schoolwork as his Grade 11 exams are looming.

“My recovery is going well. I recently went back to Scouts to visit my troop and I am getting a lot of work done at home,” he said.

A case of reckless and negligent driving is being investigated by Howick police.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  accidents

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