A carpenter in the UK who had four fingers severed when his glove was pulled into a table saw has fulfilled his vow to play ukulele again and perform for the NHS hospital staff who helped him.
Mike Aherne, 71, of Taunton in Somerset visited Southmead Hospital, Bristol on 3 July with the Ukulele Orchestra of North Curry he's part of. It marked a remarkable comeback as a musician after learning to play again with the three fingers (Mike lost his little finger) hospital staff were able to save following his horrific 2019 injury.
“I was at work as normal working on the table saw I had used umpteen times with all the safeguards in place, when it caught my glove,” Mike, a married grandfather of 50 years, told the North Bristol NHS Trust.
“I knew it was bad and was taken to Southmead Hospital by ambulance and when I saw the Consultant Plastic Surgeon Mr Rob Warr, he felt they could put my fingers back as the cut was so clean, and my colleagues had immediately looked after the fingers for me.”
Eleven hours of surgery followed and eight months of physiotherapy as Mike began the process of recovery.
“I awoke from the operation at about 4am in the morning and told staff I would get back to playing the ukulele and that I would also play in the Atrium of Southmead Hospital,” said Mike said, who is now retired as a joiner and carpenter following his injury.
He kept his word. It took a year to play again and return to the ukulele orchestra he'd joined just a year before his accident.
“Thanks to the surgery and the physiotherapy from the staff at Southmead Hospital, I’ve been able to play the ukulele again with the orchestra and it was fantastic to finally be able to play in the Atrium of Southmead Hospital as part of the musical programme for the 75th birthday of the NHS," Mike said. "I was able to see some of the physiotherapy team too, who came to see me play, which was lovely."