Share story

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The wife of a Jamestown man who severed a hand while making sausage in his garage believes the quick actions of emergency responders likely saved his life but says her husband will still lose the hand.

There is no chance that doctors will be able to reattach the left hand of her right-handed 69-year-old husband, Myron, Cel Schlafman said Tuesday. It is not yet known if he will be a candidate for a prosthetic, she said.

“They haven’t closed the wound yet. The concern is for infection,” she said. “Once they feel all the tissue is viable, they’ll close him up.”

Myron Schlafman was injured Friday afternoon while making sausage in his garage, something he has done for years, often using meat from hunting trips.

“He’s got a little makeshift sausage kitchen out there,” said his wife, who was in the house at the time. “He was just finishing up a batch, he went to take the mixer apart to wash it, and there was a piece of meat in there. He reached inside, and accidentally stepped on the pedal” activating the machine.

Emergency crews who responded to the scene applied a tourniquet to his arm and got him to the Jamestown hospital within minutes, according to police.

“It made a big difference, for sure” in stopping the blood flow and likely saving his life, Cel Schlafman said.

Emergency responders also put the severed hand in a special package to keep it cool and free of contamination, but Cel Schlafman said there is “no chance, none” that it can be reattached.

“It was just one of those freak accidents,” she said. “Life can change in a matter of minutes.”

Myron Schlafman is now at a hospital in Fargo, a much larger city about 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the east of Jamestown. It’s not known how long he’ll be there.

“He tells me he’s doing good, he’s being taken care of,” said his mother, Martha Schlafman, also of Jamestown.


Follow Blake Nicholson on Twitter at