A Pennsylvania tree trimmer narrowly survived a scary accident this week when his chainsaw kicked back and lodged into his neck and shoulder, barely missing a vital artery and producing the gruesome x-ray image above.
James Valentine, 21, was performing maintenance on a pine tree (“cutting at an awkward angle to avoid power lines”) for Adler Tree Service when the incident occurred. Reports CNN:
The blade sawed into flesh instead of wood. Valentine’s co-workers were able to detach the blade from its motor, but they left the blade and chain where it was — in Valentine, about a quarter of an inch from the carotid artery that supplies blood to the head — and they held the blade in place until emergency responders arrived.
On the ambulance ride to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Valentine was awake and alert, according to hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Davis.
The hospital’s director of trauma, Dr. Christine Toevs, said the trauma unit had 10 minutes to prepare — to get ready for a man coming up with a chainsaw blade in his neck.
Toevs said this kind of injury can cause major damage or sever the spinal cord, esophagus, or the airway. Luckily, Valentine sustained most of his injuries to muscles and soft tissue around the shoulder. After 30 stitches and quick-but-cautious work by his colleagues and medical responders, Valentine is now recovering in stable condition at the hospital.
Here’s a full video report:
And a larger version of the X-Ray:
CNN, Images from Allegheny General Hospital via CNN/WPXI screenshot