Man Forced to Cut Off His Arm to Save His Life
By Julie Blim
The 700 Club
CBN.com - Early September 2007 - Sampson Parker decided to take a quick break from work to pick a load of corn at his nearby farm.
“Everything was going great. I mean, it was just picking the corn ..the machine was running perfect and the big ears of corn was just shooting in the back of the wagon like it is supposed to.”
Then his corn picker jammed.
“The other times when it clogged up, I always kept the corn picker cut off. This time .. I thought by turning the machine on that the rollers would take the corn stalk through. And it didn’t. When I grabbed a hold of the corn stalk and pulled down and couldn’t get the corn stalk to come out, then I pushed up. And when I did, in a split second, I mean, it happened so quick. I didn’t have time to react. It pulled my hand up into the rollers. I was so mad. And I could not believe what had happened.”
Sampson felt the rollers rip into his glove, and then his right hand.
“It was very painful. I was panicked. It was like if I don’t get free pretty soon, I’m going to bleed to death right here.”
He started grasping at anything within reach.
“I was busy with my left hand digging into the dirt to get dirt and rocks .... I knew I somehow had to jam the machine to get my hand free from the rollers –and at that point I turned to God. And I screamed out, cried out to god several times for help. I was so scared that I was going to die there and my family—my wife LeAnn and Sampson, Jr., coming down and finding me on the farm… cuz there weren’t very many people who knew I was down at the farm that day. But I was going to do whatever it took to get free from that machine.”
Sampson then spotted the metal pin connecting the trailer hitch to the picker.
He kept trying to jam the gears with the pin, but every attempt failed. Finally, it worked, and the gears and rollers came to a stop -- but his hand was still stuck, and the gears kept grinding. They threw sparks into the corn stalks below. Soon, he had another problem.
“Just screaming for help and crying out to God. The biggest thing I was thinking about was I wasn’t going to burn to death there.”
Sampson realized he had only one option. He reached around for his pocketknife.
“Fire will make you do things that you never thought you would ever do. When I screamed out to God to help me, it was like God took my left hand and... And I brought it out and just jammed it into my forearm. And that was painful! My hand being ripped apart by the rollers was—that was painful. My leg being on fire and my arm being on fire and burning and the skin melting like plastic, as you can imagine, that was painful. But when I hit those nerves in my forearm, that was pain. I passed out for a little bit, cause I remember looking down at my mom and my wife arguing about where I was going to be buried. And somehow I came to. And I continued to cut my arm off.”
Sampson had been trapped for two hours when he freed himself.
“I’ll never forget jumping up and screaming, I’m free! I’m free! I mean, as bad as it sounds, but I was so excited. So I jumped in the truck and I knew I had to get help. When I arrived up to the road and I started trying to wave people down to get people to stop, nobody would stop. So what I did is I pulled my truck crossways in the roadway, I said a prayer to God, that I’ve done everything I could do, I’m in Your hands now. And people still drove around in front of my truck …as I was dying, I was thinking man, I hope somebody will stop.”
Finally someone did -- an off-duty EMT.
“My truck door opened up and this guy sticks his head in and he says, ‘Hey man, are you okay?’ And I raised up what was left of my right arm and I said, ‘I think I need a little help.’”
As he worked to stabilize Sampson and stop the bleeding, a woman came on the scene -- who happened to be a nurse.
“So God had sent the right people at the right time. Right there in the middle of nowhere. He answered my prayer.”
The pair arranged for a Life-Flight to take him to the hospital. Not long after, Sampson’s wife, LeeAnn, got a phone call from her mother. She had no details - only that Sampson had been in a bad accident.
“No one’s ever prepared for a call like that. I did pull over and stop the car and, I just cried out to God that I wasn’t ready, you know, to lose my husband yet.”
Sampson was flown to the Atlanta Burn Center. It was a four-hour drive, and Lee Ann and their son, Sampson, Jr., prayed the entire way.
“I guess the worst part was not knowing. Not knowing what had happened to him, what the severity of the accident was. Or whether he was by himself or -- not having any knowledge at all as to what happened.”
At the hospital, they learned about the accident and how badly Sampson had been hurt. Still, Lee Ann says felt a sense of peace.
“A lot of answered prayers. .. I’d never felt anything like that in my life. And it’s There’s a sense of calmness, there’s a sense of being able to deal with what you’re going through, and it was like, almost like arms were around me, just loving me and holding onto me and taking care of me.”
Over the next several weeks, Sampson underwent six surgeries and a number of excruciating burn treatments. He had time for a lot of thinking.
“Before the accident, I was a guy who’s all about my family, and myself. I wasn’t baptized as a young kid or had never taken Jesus into my heart. But I knew, soon as I was able to get out, the first thing I was going to do was take Jesus into my heart.”
When he got out of the hospital, he did just that. For Lee Ann, it was another answer to her prayers.
“How excited I was that he was accepting Jesus Christ into his life that day and joining the church, and joining us…. I have spent years and years and years praying for him to be by my side.”
The Parkers have adjusted well to Sampson having only one hand, and they take nothing for granted.
“Sampson is a gift from God. He is the love of my life, and I wouldn’t know what to do without him. And I am thankful every day for him and the time we have together.”
Sampson has told his story many times, but what he most wants people to know goes beyond his survival.
“If you cry out to God, He is there for you. Also the prayers, prayers work because I’m living proof that prayers work. I’m right here. And that there is a God.”
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