Entries in Impaled (3)


Hawk with Nail in Head Is Eating, Rescue Group Says

Tom Brakefield/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Rescuers searching the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco for a red-tailed hawk with a nail in its head are heartened by pictures showing that the hawk is eating.

The injured hawk was seen on Wednesday eating a gopher, said Rebecca Dmytryk, director of WildRescue, the Monterey-based group leading the effort to save the bird. Rescuers had spotted the raptor a day earlier killing and trying to eat a squirrel.

"Thank goodness he's eating, but the ongoing stress can compromise his immune system," said Dmytryk. WildRescue has been trying to find the hawk since a Bay Area wildlife group notified rescuers about the nail condition on Sunday.

They believe someone shot the hawk with a nail gun, probably intentionally, and have offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter. "Let's get this sucker," Dmytryk said.

Rescuers plan to try to capture the bird again Friday, hoping he's hungry again by then. "The hungrier the animal is, the easier to get it to come in for bait," Dmytryk said. The group uses a special trap rather than nets, which could harm the hawk.

Sympathizers moved by the hawk's plight are sending in photos showing the bird on apartment railings and at other area spots which will help rescuers build a strategy for finding the injured bird, Dmytryk said. "People have really shown concern and interest -- the pictures that are coming in really help us," she said. Contributions from the public enabled WildRescue to up its reward, she added.

If the hawk is captured, it will be taken to the Peninsula Humane Society wildlife center to be treated. Rescuers worry the injury could make the bird vulnerable to a fungal infection of the lungs.

The red-tailed hawk is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Freak Accident: Man Impaled by Garden Shears…And Lives!

University Medical Center of Tucson, Arizona(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- “It was excruciating. I can’t tell you how much it hurt.”

That’s what 86-year old Leroy Luetscher of Green Valley, Ariz., had to say about a grisly gardening injury that very easily could have resulted in blindness, brain damage or worse, according to a report from ABC News Tucson affiliate KGUN9.

Last month, Luetscher was trimming plants in his garden when he dropped his pruning shears, which stuck blade-first into the soil, handles pointing upward. Reaching down to pick them up, he lost his balance, and fell face-first on the handle, sending it right through his eye socket and lodging it in his head.

At first, Luetscher told reporters in a press conference Tuesday, he was not sure what had happened. He reached up to his face and felt something unusual.

“I sort of pulled on it just a little, it seemed real solid so I just left it alone and realized that it was the clipper.”

He was rushed to Tucson’s university medical center, to the same surgeons who saved the life of Gabrielle Giffords. Luetscher’s surgeon had never seen anything like this -- and he said that Luetscher was lucky that the handle of the shears spared his eyeball, his brain, and his essential arteries.

Today, Luetscher is in much better shape. But he said that after this mishap, his gardening days are over.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bamboo Stick Impales 13-Year-Old Playing Ninja

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LYNCHBURG, Va.) -- Dez Heal, 13, of Lynchburg, Va., was rushed to the hospital with a bamboo stick impaled his neck.

Dez had been playing a ninja game with friends and "decided to put the bamboo stick in the back of my shirt," he told ABC affiliate WSET-TV.

"I guess when he jumped, the stick must have went forward," Nicholas Blencowe, Dez's friend and ninja partner, told the station. "And when he hit the ground, the stick went in his neck."

Dez's father, David Heal, described to WSET how the stick pierced Dez's neck and came out about about three inches behind his ear. Heal called 911.

It might seem surprising, but when emergency room physicians see an impaling injury like Dez's, they don't rush to yank the piercing object out -- they leave it in as they take the time to appraise the patient.

"It sounds counterintuitive, but it's important to leave the object in place," says Dr. Abi Mehrotra, assistant medical director at the University of North Carolina Department of Emergency Medicine. Even if an object is impaled in the eye, don't pull it out, he warns. "You don't know what the damage is to the structure underneath. The object may be stopping the bleeding that may be happening."

Dr. Paul Pepe, chairman of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, agrees. "You don't pull it out. You do nothing" initially, he explained, because of the risk involved in extracting it. "If it is going through an artery, if you pull it out, the leak may explode," says Pepe.

Luckily for Dez, the stick did not hit an artery.

Pepe went on to describe the deliberate, painstaking ABC protocol -- airway, breathing, circulation -- that's followed for an impaling injury like Dez's.

"There could be abnormal breathing if the phrenic nerve is hit," he said, referring to the nerve that begins in the neck and supports the movement of the diaphragm. Doctors have to ensure that there is not a loss of circulation, and that the patient is not bleeding out.

A patient might be asked to wiggle his toes to see whether there is a spinal cord injury, Pepe explains.

Doctors use imaging, including CT scans, and possibly angiograms, to further determine the nature of the injury.

Only after a meticulous assessment do doctors consider cutting off the ends of the object and moving to "a very careful surgical removal," Pepe says.

By appraising the injury beforehand, a hospital can make sure it has the appropriate expert on hand -- such as a vascular surgeon if an artery has been struck, Mehrotra says.

Such accidents -- often shown dramatically on TV, especially in a famous Grey's Anatomy episode in which two patients were impaled on the same pole -- "aren't as rare as we would like to think," according to Mehrotra. He says he frequently sees fishing hooks impaled in skin.

Larger, more serious impalements happen to workers who fall on the job, and to those caught in tornadoes, Pepe says.

As a result he says, "We've got the drill down."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio