HARMONY —  Four-year-old Jaydon Talbot is recovering from the amputation of his right leg after he was caught in the blades of a lawn mower his father was driving.

The boy fell out of a trailer that was attached to the back of the mower, in what appears to have been an accident, police said. A spokesperson for Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where Talbot is a patient, said he was in critical condition Thursday.

“It was a freak accident. His father was just driving with him like they normally do on the lawnmower. It’s something everybody does, but they shouldn’t,” said Teresa Gourley, the boy’s aunt. She said Talbot was recovering but had to have his leg amputated above the knee.

The boy’s father was cutting the grass outside their home at 217 North Road when the accident was reported around 7:50 p.m. Wednesday, according to Dale Lancaster, chief deputy of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department. He said Talbot was taken to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan before being taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Bangor.

The accident is still under investigation, but criminal charges are unlikely, Lancaster said. He said police still are seeking confirmation from the boy’s parents about what happened. Neither he nor Gourley would identify the parents.

Nationally, 3,780 children age 14 or under were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to lawn mowers accidents in 2011, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Scott Hebert, 42, of Norridgewock, is a certified prosthetist and orthopedist who works for Hanger Inc., a national prosthetics and orthotics company that is based in Austin, Texas, and has five offices in Maine, including one in Waterville, where Hebert usually works. Hebert is also an amputee who lost his left leg below the knee as a result of a lawn mower accident when he was 2 years old.

“I was reminded of myself when I heard about this. I’ve been there and have a lot in common with this boy,” Hebert said of Talbot. “There is hope.”

As someone who makes prosthetics for patients all over the state, Hebert said he sees about 100 new amputees each year. He said the most common causes of amputation are diabetes and vascular dysfunction, but he has also seen trauma patients, including about 30 related to lawn mower accidents during his 18-year career.

Hebert, who grew up in Massachusetts, said his accident happened in 1972 while he was playing in the yard and his aunt, who didn’t see him, accidentally ran him over with a lawn mower.

In his own case, the guard around the blade of the mower was not set to standards, which made it easy for Hebert to get caught in the blades underneath. Recovery from the accident was a long process and involved close to 100 surgeries before his leg finally was amputated at age 11, Herbert said. Still, he said a normal life has been possible for him.

“I’ve been able to carry on through life. I think most people now don’t even know I have an artificial leg,” said Hebert, adding that he went on to work on his family’s farm and in construction before getting into prosthetics.

He also has children of his own and said he is always cautious around lawn mowers with them, and that if they want to go for a ride he turns the blade off and does not cut grass at the same time.

“This is an unfortunate tragedy, but there is a lot of hope with technology today that can bring him back to normal functioning,” Hebert said of Wednesday’s accident victim. He said many of his most resilient patients are children, who are able to recover because they are focused on achieving small tasks such as getting back to playing outside.

“Adults have to worry about providing for their families and often think about how people will look at them. As a child, I just wanted to play kickball with my friends,” said Hebert.

Talbot is a prekindergarten student at Harmony Elementary School, according to Noelle Loupin, the school’s office manager.

The boy’s aunt said he is expected to recover from the accident. Lancaster said that while the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department hasn’t seen a lot of lawn mower-related accidents, they are not rare.

“Any operation of equipment has to come with extreme caution,” he said.

Rachel Ohm —  612-2368
[email protected]

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