ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A tree trimmer was seriously injured after being cut in the neck with a chainsaw Monday, and now we're getting our first look at an X-ray of his injury.
Police say the 21-year-old James Valentine, from Adler Tree Service in Gibsonia, was in a tree in Ross Township when the accident happened.
"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."
Valentine was in a harness halfway up the tree along Perry Highway when the accident happened.
Police say something happened and the chainsaw blade partially embedded in his neck and shoulder area.
A co-worker climbed the tree and brought the man down. A doctor on the scene then stabilized the victim.
"As soon as the accident happened, the injured person was able to hold the saw in front of himself," said Greg Porter, of Ross Township EMS. "He never lost consciousness."
Valentine turned the saw off, held it in place and began climbing down the tree.
"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."
Police were able to get the motor off the chainsaw, but left the blade in the man's neck to keep him from bleeding to death.
"If you take the chainsaw out, you would have massive bleeding," said Dr. Christine Toevs, a trauma surgeon.
He was taken to Allegheny General Hospital and had surgery to remove the blade.
Trauma surgeons expected the worst.
"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."
Doctors say the victim is very lucky because the chainsaw missed major arteries, and just cut into muscle.
Valentine had stitches and sutures to the neck, and is expected to make a full recovery.
As for his future, Valentine says, "I am a tree climber; that's what I do."
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