A Pennsylvania tree trimmer is recovering after an on-the-job accident caused the chainsaw he was using to embed itself in his neck. The man, 21-year-old James Valentine, was using a chainsaw in a pine tree when it “kicked back” into his neck. The resulting injury was deep enough that Valentine’s co-workers had to keep the blade buried in his neck, leaving its removal to emergency room doctors.
Valentine was in a harness halfway up a tree when something forced the chainsaw blade to embed in his neck and shoulder area. Valentine turned the saw off, held it in place, and began climbing down the tree. “I was holding it with this hand and scooted down with this hand,” he told reporters. “Soon as I got down…seeing the blood just squirting out – that was crazy.”
A co-worker had to climb the tree to help bring Valentine down. A doctor on the scene then stabilized him so he could be moved to the hospital.
Luckily, the sharp blade missed the vital carotid artery by less than a centimeter, instead cutting into muscle and soft tissue. Dr. Christine Toevs, director of trauma at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, where Valentine was treated, said, “This kind of injury could usually cause major damage or sever the spinal cord, esophagus, or airway.”
The wound required 30 stitches, but Valentine, who was alert and talking throughout the incident, is expected to make a full recovery.