Allegheny General surgeons remove chain saw blade from tree trimmer's neck
When Ross/West View Emergency Medical Services Authority paramedics dropped off a tree trimmer with a chain saw embedded 2 inches into his neck at Allegheny General Hospital, they felt as if they had done all that they could do to help him.
“It takes us a while to kind of wind down from something like that,” said Greg Porter, assistant director the authority.
The saw missed the carotid artery of the patient, James Valentine, 21, of Pittsburgh's South Side, by a centimeter and didn't hit his esophagus, trachea or spinal cord, He is expected to make a full recovery.
“I definitely feel lucky,” said Valentine, who works for Adler Tree Service in West Deer Township. “It was just a freak accident.”
The accident happened about 2:30 p.m. March 31 at a home in the 700 block of Perry Highway in Ross Township when Valentine's buzzing saw kicked back into him as he worked 15 feet off the ground in a Scotch pine.
He described the pain as “worse pain than you could ever imagine.” The chain bar, which was about 3 inches wide and 15 inches long, also injured his left shoulder. An X-ray that showed the chain saw blade embedded into Valentine's neck went viral.
Porter, 42, of Etna said Ross/West View paramedics arrived within four minutes of the call and that the scene was bloody when he arrived.
“I've been doing this a long time, and this is the first time I've seen a chain saw impaled,” he said.
Valentine's co-workers and paramedics took the saw apart on the scene, which, Porter said, was a challenge. They left the blade and bar in his neck until he arrived at the hospital; removing them could have caused severe bleeding, doctors said.
Porter said paramedics were on the scene for approximately eight minutes, and the ride to the hospital, where they dropped the patient off with about 50 staff members, took about 12 minutes.
“The system worked extraordinarily well,” Porter said at a press conference.
Valentine said he never lost consciousness, but “everything was going through my head,” including wondering whether he would die.
Porter said paramedics talked to Valentine, who was “obviously fearful,” the entire time and told him he was in good hands.
“There is absolutely no doubt that the EMS did everything they could for James,” said Dr. Christine Toevs, the trauma surgeon who removed the blade in an hourlong procedure.
“They really did a phenomenal job.”
“I couldn't be happier with our people,” Porter said of the seven paramedics on the scene.
Valentine received 30 stitches and five staples in his neck and was discharged from the Pittsburgh hospital within 48 hours of the accident.
He was expected to return to work in several weeks.
Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hampton High grad earns Miss Pennsylvania title
- Shaler Area reaches contract agreement through June 20, 2019 with superintendent
- Banking program aims to make Shaler Area students fiscally responsible
- New tax to hit most in Richland
- Program offers Pine-Richland students look at career options
- North Hills principal aims to make world ‘a better place’
- North Hills High School book drive nets 1,083 items
- North Hills-area children, youths play their parts in ‘Nutcracker’
- Budget calls for Hampton tax rate to stay steady
- Route 8 Nativity scene shines brighter
- Richland church’s pageant mixes faith with fun