Man's arm nearly severed in guillotine-like accident
David Branham's right arm has been completely reconstructed.
“That's where they did the skin graft,” he said after removing a Velcro brace that covered a large scar. “And that's where it was cut. The bones crushed and it was just dangling."
X-rays shown to Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf dramatically detail the horrific injury that required plates and screws to keep the hand attached to his arm.
"I'm very lucky to be alive," he told Wolf.
The life-altering injury took place at a concrete structure located between two business on the North Side. The reported hole in it is now fixed. But Branham said in August 2017, a portion fell on his arm like a guillotine when he stuck it through a hole to retrieve a cherished hat from his daughter that blew over it. A photo he provided showed blood splattered in the area.
“I was yelling,” he explained with apparent vivid memory. “Screaming. No one was hearing me. I finally had just given up."
With some 500 lbs. of concrete and material pinning him down, Branham recalled nearly passing out from the massive blood loss. He eventually grabbed a cell phone from his pocket to call a co-worker at the time in the building next door.
“He came out and just quickly assessed the situation,” Branham said. “He ran back in and called 9-1-1. He grabbed a crowbar and a hammer and just went after it busting it loose. If this person didn't come to save me, I wouldn't be here today."
That brings us to this CASH FOR KINDNESS surprise. Branham had his former co-worker, Tomas Martinez, meet him outside near the accident sight. He had no idea Fox San Antonio cameras would be rolling.
“What you did is, you saved my life,” Branham told him when he arrived. “In that short time, it could have been totally different from what happened. You cared for me, bringing me water, giving me a place to sit down, pouring the water in my mouth, everything you did, was like an angel sent."
Martinez doesn’t think of himself as a hero.
“It was just the adrenaline and God giving me the strength," he said.
He admitted, the images from that day, are still fresh in his head.
"All I remember is him calling out my name,” Martinez said. “I rushed out there. And by the time I saw his hand it was basically crushed. Mangled."
Branham only has about 30 percent use of his hand, wrist and arm. He no longer works because of the injury. It’s a quite the change for a man who worked as an assemblyman with his hands for the last four decades. Still, Branham knows, it could have been much worse.
“I'm just glad I was able to help him out,” Martinez said.
“He was hero,” Branham added.
”Well, the doctor said if I didn't get him out in time, he would have lost his hand,” Martinez said. “And thank God I did get him out in time."
Wolf shared how his kindness was being rewarded.
“You saved his life,” he told him. “And we couldn't be more proud to make you a recipient on our program on behalf of Fox San Antonio. Would you put your hand out for me?"
Martinez counted the money placed into his hand. It was a stack of $100 bills.
“$500, $600, $700, $800, $900, $1,000!” he said with a smile. “Awe, man! Thank you. Thank you.”
Click here to nominate someone for the $1,000 CASH FOR KINDNESS award.