March 10, 2010

Worker in Statler Hall Taken to Hospital After Apparently Falling, Impaling Leg

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A worker in Statler Hall fell off a 24-foot ladder yesterday and apparently impaled his leg on a Genie lift that had been supporting the ladder, according to Sam Bechthold grad, who helped to stop the man’s bleeding. However, an exact cause of the injury has not yet been confirmed.

The worker was taken to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa., because “his injuries were serious,” said Blaine Friedlander, assistant director of press relations.

“He was bleeding everywhere. His pants and shirt were soaked in blood … It was pretty gruesome,” Bechthold said. Bechthold was reading in a Statler lounge before his 8:40 a.m. class yesterday when he heard the sound of falling tools and a pained scream, he said.

When Bechthold investigated the noise, he found the worker on the ground. He had apparently been using the 24-foot ladder to work on wiring inside an electrical closet when he fell, Bechthold said.

Neither the University nor Packer Hospital would identify the worker by name last night.

Soon after Bechthold arrived, the worker’s partner arrived to help. Due to the large amount of blood, neither men could initially identify the location of the puncture.

“[The worker] asked me, ‘Could you help me? I’m holding my leg in my hand.’ He then went into shock,” Bechthold said.

Once they realized the worker was bleeding from his leg, Bechthold fastened the worker’s belt around his punctured leg to slow the blood flow. A former scout master, Bechthold credits his boy scout experience for his quick response.

Considering the closet’s tight quarters and the height of the ladder, Bechthold called it a “miracle” that the worker was not more seriously injured. He was equally impressed that emergency responders arrived “on the scene in a matter of minutes.”

Bechthold said that the worker impaled himself on the sharp leg of the “Genie lift,” which was bracing his ladder. The lift raises and supports a ladder that cannot otherwise reach the desired height. The lift had four legs, and a piece of sharp metal lay on one of the legs. From the blood and puncture, Bechthold speculated the worker landed on this particular part of the lift.

However, Friedlander stressed that the accident is still under investigation.

“The facts are unclear how it happened,” Friedlander said.

The worker remained calm and responsive throughout the ordeal, Brechthold said.

“He was actually amazing. For how much he was bleeding, he had an incredible presence of mind,” Brechtold said.

Original Author: Margo Cohen Ristorucci