Harrowing Rescue for Crash Victim and First Responders

December 12, 2013

A 20-year-old man was taken to the UW Trauma Center last night following a one-car crash that left him impaled by the upper rail of a chain link fence. The incident was a challenging extrication for responders. Aside from the difficult nature of the call, the temperature at the time was 8 degrees.

Engine 3, Ladder 8, Squad 8, Car 31, Medic 5 and Medic 10 responded with a full “pin response” at  the intersection of Oakridge and Maple avenue at approximately 8:23 p.m. When they arrived, they found a car that had left the residential street, running over several small bushes, a chain link fence and crashing into a utility pole.

The driver of the vehicle was ambulatory at the scene.  But as the care plowed through the fence, the upper rail of the fence (a pipe 2” in diameter) penetrated the windshield and speared the male passenger in the front seat. The 7’ piece of pipe entered the patient just below his left arm pit and exited through his back with the pipe also penetrating the front seat back.

The patient was conscious and answering questions. The front half of the pipe was trimmed with a hydraulic cutting tool to within 4” of his chest.  The back section of pipe was trimmed close to the seat back. The right side of the car was cut away to allow better access. The patient was gently re-positioned to allow the pipe to be removed from the seat back and the patient was removed from the car. The entire operation took approximately 25 minutes.

He was transported with a section of pipe still in his body to the UW Trauma Center. Additional MFD personnel and equipment were sent to the UW Hospital in the event further cutting of the pipe was required in the Emergency Department. This assistance was not needed and the patient was quickly sent to an operating room for removal of the pipe.

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