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The miraculous: his left hand severed

A family sawing activity turned into a tragedy for a 12-year-old boy who sliced ​​his left hand in a log splitter. Thanks to the surgeries, he can play video games and hope to regain his motor skills.

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“I think I had put the log, I was in the moon, says Frédéric Cotnoir. I heard my uncle scream, and there after that […] I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was disappointed. I like to play video games! “

The life of the boy, who recently turned 13, took an unexpected turn on April 5. During Easter weekend, he helped his father with the annual chore of sawing wood for the winter. The Vaudreuil-Dorion family had hired a splitter to cut the logs.

“He wanted to do it”

“It’s boring for them [les enfants] always string the wood. Frédéric is super brave. He wanted to do it, ”says his father, Nicholas Cotnoir, who still feels very guilty.

The machine lowers the ax towards the log, which must be held vertically on each side until the blade splits the wood. The accident occurred after several hours of work, over two days.

“Frédéric had worked really well,” his father assures us. We were all around him, we weren’t having coffee! “

In a second of inattention, the blade severed his left hand at the wrist.

“I didn’t really realize it at the time,” admits Frédéric, the youngest of a family of three children. It hurt especially when I forced it. “

After wrapping her hand in a sweater with ice, they went to the Montreal Children’s Hospital. All along, the child was lucid, and hardly bleeding.

“Dad, I’m going to lose my hand, I’m going to have a prosthesis,” said Frédéric, who swears he hardly cried.

The child underwent a first surgery lasting 19 hours, to reimplant his hand. In all, the father and son spent a month in the hospital.

Father and son closer

“It brought us together a lot. We were close and we are even closer, ”said Mr. Cotnoir, who spent 24 hours a day with his son during his recovery.

For several months, Frédéric has been doing occupational therapy and daily exercises to recover his motor skills. Already, he moves his thumb and manages to play video games.

“I exercise as much as I can, but sometimes I’m super tired,” he says.

One thing is certain, this accident marked this family forever.

“I have never cried so much in my life,” says the father. What is cursed with an accident is that it is an accident. I see him fighting with that, that’s my fight. “

He swears that he will buy his already split wood from now on.

Still a lot of work to do

After having undergone 50 hours of surgery, Frédéric will have to show patience and perseverance to regain as much motor skills as possible.

“He works hard. He has made a lot of progress lately, ”says Dre Sabrina Cugno, pediatric plastic surgeon specializing in reimplantation at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.


The surgery consisted of reconnecting each blood vessel. These are long hours of surgery that require a lot of attention. In total, according to the family, the child underwent 50 hours of surgery in six operations.

In addition, Frédéric had to deal with some surgical complications. In fact, he did not have a frank amputation of his hand because he pulled his arm at the same time.

“Her blood vessels were too maganized, you couldn’t stick them back together like little threads,” says Dre Cugno.

Veins in her leg were used to help reconnect her hand to her arm.

According to the Dre Cugno, the boy will not regain 100% of his strength and will surely have to undergo other operations.

“It will be to improve his movement,” says the one who is delighted that he can move his thumb.

“Like a miracle”

Since the accident, Frédéric has been working hard in occupational therapy to regain motor skills and flexion. Every day at noon, his mother picks him up from school to do his exercises. He doesn’t have much strength in his hand yet.

“Just buttering your bread is like a miracle for us!” said his mother, Martha Alkhori. These are all small steps that give hope. ”

“We are aiming for him to be able to do the pliers with his hand,” adds his father, Nicholas Cotnoir.


  • Less than 10 cases per year at the Montreal Children’s Hospital
  • Mostly fingers are cut off


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