Rescue workers had to perform a double leg amputation in order to free a worker who became caught up in a machine last week in an Alhambra, California manufacturing facility.
Alhambra Fire Department paramedics arrived at the Alhambra Foundry Co. around 1 p.m. in response to a call for emergency help. The metals manufacturer and fabricator has been operating in Alhambra, about five miles south of Pasadena, since 1923.
The paramedics were able to stop the worker’s bleeding and stabilized him, treating him with fluids and pain medication, MyNewsLA.com reported, but ultimately they were unable to free him from the machine. That’s when they knew that amputation was the only option.
“There was no other alternative than to amputate his legs to get him out,” Alhambra Battalion Chief Doug Shonkwiler said, according to the Pasadena Star-News.
The paramedics then contacted the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services’ Hospital Emergency Response Team, which dispatched two surgeons who performed amputations on both the man’s legs.
Once the amputation was completed around 2:30 p.m., the worker was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. He is in stable condition, Battalion Chief Shonkwiler told the Pasadena News-Star.
Nationwide, U.S. workers suffer more than seven accidental on-the-job amputations a day, according to OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, that estimate, which is based on amputation reporting requirement data OSHA has collected since the beginning of 2015, is almost certainly much higher because it does not take into account workplace accidents that occur in states with their own reporting requirements and response plans.
The loss of a limb or even a finger can severely diminish a person’s quality of life in a multitude of ways. Occupations and hobbies may be destroyed; years of painful and emotionally difficult rehabilitation and mastery of prosthetics may consume much of the victim’s time; and increased dependence and need for assistance can be stressful and costly. Amputees may also experience extreme frustration, social isolation, and depression that may require psychological treatments or other therapies, especially in the months and years immediately following an amputation.