Country Living Series

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bad accident next door

Yesterday we were all away from home until after dark, past 5 pm. We had to hustle and get the barn chores done by flashlight - feeding the cattle, the chickens, filling the water tank. We were all tired and a bit crotchety when the phone rang...

Funny how one's minor irritations fade when bad news happens. It seems one of our neighbor boys, 15 year old Riley, amputated his left thumb and index finger on a power tool about 3:45 pm. His younger brothers saw the result. Thankfully we have a medic in our neighborhood who did the initial work necessary to keep Riley from losing too much blood and going into shock.

He was rushed to our local clinic, then helicoptered into a Spokane hospital where they stabilized him. Then he was jetted to Seattle and underwent several hours of surgery to reattach his fingers.

Right now it seems the surgery was successful. His fingers are showing signs of "pinkening" (meaning circulation is occurring), but he's not out of the woods yet. We won't know for another week if the fingers will "take" or not. I'm informed he has an 80% chance of success which I'm sure you'll agree are pretty good odds, but it's damned scary to think Riley stands a 20% chance of being permanently maimed at 15.

Please pray that his fingers "take." He can use all the help he can get.


  1. Tools are dangerous, especially power tools. Good thing someone was there who knew what to do. I know what I would do though it might not be the perfect answer (bandage, elevation, pressure, if need be tourniquet and toss the digits in a bag with some ice for the drive to the hospital). Prayed for the kid and really hope the fingers 'take'.

  2. Yes, our irritations fade in the face of tradgedy. Hope your neighbor continues to improve. Just discovered your blog and will now consume a few hours reading past posts. Treesong

  3. My heart goes out to your 15-year-old neighbor.

    We live in the mountains in California out of sight of any neighbors, and my wife and kids won't let me run the chainsaw or tablesaw when nobody else is home.

    Sometimes, I chafe at their request and am tempted to violate their wishes, but I know they are right in their concern for me. All it would take is one careless slip and Dad would be out of action.

    I'm so glad that Rylie had siblings home with him.

    I'm praying that God will heal Rylie's hand.


  4. All tools, power and hand can do serious damage to flesh. My prayers are with the young man and his family. I have a grand son not so lucky, lost three fingers.

    See Ya

  5. I have to marvel at what these surgeons can do. Reconnecting tiny blood vessels, stitching together tiny ligaments,muscles and so on. I hope the young man has a good outcome.

  6. How is the young man doing???

  7. No change on Rylie's condition, at least none that I've heard. The doctors are hopeful but no one is certain yet and we won't know for a couple more days whether his fingers will "take." He's being kept in what's called the tropicana room, a room held at 85 degrees F and high humidity. Apparently this opens the capillaries or something and helps in the healing process. Continued prayers would be appreciated.

    - Patrice

  8. @theotherryan: Is seems putting a severed organ in ice isn't good as it can kill the cells. I googled a bit now and I found this:

    "To best preserve a severed body part, you NEVER place it directly on ice. This is because, the amputated body part is no longer is perfused (lacks circulating blood). Therefore it freezes much easier and is prone to immediate frostbite and critical vascular damage. If you want a prayer of saving the amputated body part, avoid direct contact with ice. Cold however, does slow down tissue death due to lack of oxygenation. A solution or slurry of saline water with a little ice is the way to go."