A Michigan Sheriff Deputy suffered an accidental finger amputation and extensive damage to his hand while investigating a fire scene in Oakland County, Michigan.
Detroit’s Fox 2 News reports that Deputy Tom Kangas, who works on arson investigations as a canine handler, got his right hand caught in the teeth of the grapple bucket on an excavator. The steel teeth clamped shut on his hand and mangled it.
A GoFundMe fundraiser for Deputy Kangas describes the accident and amputation as “catastrophic” because it greatly affects his ability to perform his job.
Surgeons tried to save the trigger finger on Deputy Kangas’ shooting hand, but about a week after the second surgery when they took the cast off his hand, he realized he could no longer move the severely damaged finger.
Deputy Kangas told Fox 2 News that “it was a big disappointment for me when I realized it didn’t work.”
In addition to the amputation of his trigger finger, his middle finger was severely crushed and there is extensive tissue and nerve damage throughout the hand.
The injuries mean that Deputy Kangas will have to learn how to shoot with his left hand. He told Fox 2 News that his doctors said that just drawing from the holster will be his biggest obstacle to overcome in learning how to use a gun with his left hand.
Even off the job, Deputy Kangas faces new obstacles because of his finger amputation. He still requires help with the most basic tasks such as brushing his teeth, which his wife Rebecca helps him with.
Five of the couple’s 11 children suffer from Chiari malformation and hydrocephalus and have to undergo multiple surgeries every year.
Before the accident, Deputy Kangas could work several hours of overtime, enough to make ends meet for the large family. But now he earns about 80 percent of his base pay in Workers Compensation.