Injured factory worker returns home


The Queenstown man whose arm was crushed in a conveyor belt is finally back at home after undergoing two more operations at Dunedin Hospital.

Daniel Figueroa returned home last week after spending six of the past seven weeks — including Christmas Day — recovering from the November 23 accident.

He was flown to Dunedin for treatment on a broken arm, burns and a hole in his elbow when his arm was mangled to the bone after being caught in the machine at his workplace, Remarkable Tortillas.

The 19-year-old says his second operation, a graft to replace skin either burned or pulled off his arm, was unsuccessful.

He had undergone another skin graft on December 22, then a fourth operation this month to amputate the tip of his middle finger after circulation failed to return.

The tips of his other fingers on his right hand are also at risk and being closely monitored.

“They’re just going to give it some time.”

Figueroa is feeling better, despite being on strong painkillers, and his arm is improving slowly.

“They say it’s looking good.”

A district nurse visits him every other day, and he is having physiotherapy on his hand three times a week. He remains optimistic of regaining full movement of his arm and hand.

“I have to be patient, I guess.

“They said it will take six months — maybe more, but maybe less.”

Although he tries not to think about the accident, he had been contacted by WorkSafe and expects to be interviewed in the next few weeks.

After leaving school in 2015, Figueroa began full-time work at the factory to save money before starting university this year. For now he is focusing on his recovery, but plans to go to university as soon as possible.

Otago Daily Times