James Valentine, a 21-year old Pennsylvania man survived a chainsaw accident that could have killed him. Instead, 30 stitches and an hour of surgery later and a day after the accident, Valentine was recovering in stable condition at a Pennsylvania hospital.
Valentine was on a job site with Adler Tree Service along Perry Highway in Gibsonia, north of Pittsburgh, and was performing maintenance work on a pine tree in a harness halfway up when the chainsaw kicked back and instead of cutting the tree, it partially embedded in his neck and shoulder area.
Valentine’s co-worker climbed the tree and brought him down. Co-workers were able to detach the blade from its motor, but they left the blade and chain where it was, about a quarter of an inch from the carotid artery that supplies blood to the head. 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.
“He was not critically injured. He was awake and talking to us when he came in,” said Dr. Toevs. “We took the chainsaw out and there was no bleeding.”
The chainsaw blade had missed that vital carotid artery by a mere centimeter, Toevs said.
Toevs said this kind of injury could usually cause major damage or sever the spinal cord, esophagus, or the airway. Instead, Valentine sustained most of his injuries to muscles and soft tissue around the shoulder, rather than his neck.
Valentine had stitches and sutures to the neck, and is expected to make a full recovery.
“It was just a freak accident. It could happen to anybody climbing a tree,” said Valentine one day after the accident from his hospital bed. “The chainsaw came back at me and got stuck in my neck.”
Man gets chainsaw lodged in neck during tree-trimming accident
A chainsaw cut 2 inches deep into 21-year-old James Valentine while he was working on Perry Highway in Ross Township.