A musician says he came within minutes of bleeding to death after his arm was severed in an industrial accident at a Dundee school.
Keith Matheson, who has collaborated with musicians from bands like Deacon Blue and Simple Minds, was working on decking planters as a contractor at Forthill Primary School when the incident happened.
His fleece caught the blade of a circular saw and in a fraction of a second, his left arm was pulled into the power tool.
Surgeons’ remarkable effort to reattach arm
Two staff members at the Broughty Ferry school rushed to his aid as he lay on the ground with the limb hanging by just a tiny thread of tendon and skin from the elbow.
The handyman has been in Ninewells Hospital since the incident two weeks ago and thanks to the remarkable work of healthcare staff — including 24 hours of surgery — Keith says his arm is now fully reattached.
In the immediate aftermath, he says his first thought was of his two daughters – Seonaid, 31, and Georgie, 16.
And he says he owes his life to the two quick-thinking workers.
“They saved my life,” he said.
“I’m absolutely certain I would have died if it was not for them rushing to help me, stopping the bleeding, and calling for an ambulance.
“It looked like just a stump below the elbow. I was getting flashbacks of the incident for about three days afterwards.
“If I had to choose one reason why I am happy to still be here, it would be my two daughters.
“It was a silly accident but it has made me realise how lucky I am and the outpouring of love from family and friends has been amazing.”
Deacon Blue and Simple Minds
The Wick-born singer, who lives between Glenrothes and Dundee, is well-known in Tayside and Fife – having been a regular performer at venues across the area.
In his younger years he formed in Big Blue 72 before teaming up with Kit Clark, of Danny Wilson fame, to launch Swiss Family Orbison.
After that, he joined Davie Scott as guitarist with Pearlfishers.
He recently released his debut solo album Kekker with contributions from Gregor Philp and Dougie Vipond of Deacon Blue, Ged Grimes of Danny Wilson and Simple Minds, and Andrew Mitchell of The Hazey Janes and Idlewild.
The 58-year-old, who also worked at iconic record store Groucho’s for many years, has vowed to continue creating music despite the severity of the accident.
He still plans to release a second solo album but concedes he now has a huge obstacle to overcome.
“I’ll never be able to play guitar left-handed again”, he said.
“But I’m going to learn to play right-handed because anyone who knows me knows how important music is to me.
“I’m able to move the tips of my fingers already but it could be another year-and-a-half of recovery.”
Keith is expected to remain in hospital for another week or so.
Incident being investigated
Dundee City Council previously confirmed an industrial accident had taken place within the school grounds on Monday April 4.
A spokesperson said: “Following an incident at Forthill Primary School, the council is now assisting Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive with their investigations.
“It would not be appropriate to comment further while these inquiries are ongoing.”