According to a report today from The Associated Press, as carried on MSN News, 21-year-old James Valentine was trimming a tree “in Ross Township on Monday afternoon when he was struck in the neck by the saw. Another worker helped him down, and his co-workers left the saw in place to try to limit the bleeding.”
Valentine was rushed into emergency surgery at Allegheny General Hospital, where he was listed Monday as being in stable condition.
Fortunately, the blade of the chainsaw entrenched itself into Valentine’s muscle, missing major arteries and blood vessels.
“It was just a freak accident,” Valentine said. “It could happen to anybody climbing a tree. The chainsaw came back at me and got stuck in my neck.”
Police and EMTs responding at the scene were able to disassemble the blade from the motor of the chainsaw, but left the blade in Valentine’s neck out of fears of massive bleeding if they removed it.
“As soon as the accident happened, the injured person was able to hold the saw in front of himself,” said Ross Township EMT Greg Porter. “He never lost consciousness.”
Valentine said he made it down the tree, with assistance, using one hand; the other hand was holding the saw in place in his neck.
“I was holding it with this hand and scooted down with this hand,” said Valentine. “Soon as I got down… Just seeing the blood just squirting out, that was crazy.”
Valentine had stitches and sutures at the hospital, but after an overnight stay, was dismissed to recover.
As for facing his fears and climbing back on the tree, as it were, Valentine says, “I am a tree climber; that’s what I do.”