FOUR doctors deliberated over the fate of a comatose Troy Hill and concluded his prognosis was hopeless.
He had already been in an induced coma for a week and come perilously close to death on two occasions.
The first was immediately after the freak logging accident near Woodenbong last December but the Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrived just as he was slipping away due to blood loss.
Within 18 hours he tottered on the abyss again after using up all the available supply (23 units) of his blood type before doctors at Lismore Base Hospital staunched the internal bleeding.
After five days he was airlifted to Sydney's Prince of Wales hospital in the hope they could do something but it seemed unlikely.
The father-of-three had punctured his lower organs, and his leg was badly infected because of blood loss."He had internal damage and was pretty busted up," Troy's father Neville said.
"They felt it was going to be too big a job."
But one person disagreed. The intensive care unit doctor insisted they revisit the case, even though other patients had died when they underwent the extensive surgery proposed.
"It was only because of his age in the end they agreed to try to do something," Neville Hill said.
"If he was any older they wouldn't have bothered.
Troy underwent a hindquarter amputation involving the removal of his right buttock and leg. One more day and it may have been too late.
He was so close to death that his survival became quite famous in the corridors of the Prince of Wales.
"I shouldn't be alive," he said.
Troy Hill was also expected to stay in hospital for seven months after the operation but was out in four, returning home in mid-April.
The Hills, having come so close to losing their son, are incredibly appreciative to everyone involved.
Their gratitude is not only felt for medical staff in Lismore and Sydney, but also the Urbenville community, which came together when their wounded son needed them most.
A charity day and auction, inspired by four of Troy's mates after a chat over a beer, raised $37,000 to help him adjust to his new life.
"They actually rang me that night at the auction," Troy Hill said.
"All I got out was thanks before I started crying."It was overwhelming."