Man cuts off own hand to save his life after sausage-making accident in his garage

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JAMESTOWN, N.D. – It took one man days to decide to cut off his own arm in order to save his life. It took Myron Schlafman just moments.

The 69-year-old Jamestown, North Dakota, man was making sausage in his garage on Aug. 17 using an electric meat mixer. The AP reports that as he removed a chunk of meat from the machine he accidentally stepped on the pedal that powered it, pulling his left arm into the device.

He says the bone was severed but the hand remained attached via skin, nerves, and tissue—and that he believed he’d bleed to death if he didn’t remove the hand above his wrist immediately, reports KFGO.

“When I cut off my arm, I could feel my nerves jumping,” the right-handed man says. “If I would have hesitated, I would have stood right there and bled to death.”

He says a tourniquet applied by two responding officers further enabled him to survive. Doctors weren’t able to reattach the hand, reports KFGO, so he’ll ultimately be outfitted with a prosthetic one. His take on the situation is an optimistic one: “I went through Vietnam. I can handle this.”

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