Chainsaw accidents on the rise in Region 8

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - This time of year many in Region eight work in their yards.  They'll mow their yards for the last time and pull out the chain saw to clear up any brush that has fallen.  But, if they're not careful doing so could land them in the hospital or worse!  Ask virtually anyone and chances are they have a chainsaw.  While they may be the number one tool when it comes to clearing downed trees and limbs, doctors I spoke with say they're also the number one cause for emergency room visits!

"It can happen so fast to anyone even paying attention.  The main thing is use common sense.  The very first time you don't use common sense, nine times out of ten, that's when you'll have your accident," said Joe Difani.

"One little brief lapse in judgment and it's too late," said Dr. Scott Lewis, Director of the Emergency Department at Five Rivers Medical Center.

Dr. Lewis said they've seen person after person come into the ER with injuries caused by their chainsaws!

"A lot of hand injuries and also leg injuries from where the saw is kicking back and cutting either their non-dominant hand or their leg," said Lewis.

Joe Difani has been using chainsaws for about thirty years, but even with all that experience he too had an accident.

"In my case I failed to use common sense for a split second and ran a chainsaw behind my shin bone," said Difani.

Part of the "common sense" is to always cut with the blade going down into the wood, not towards your head or face and never go alone!

"It's like anything, you have to take someone with you in case you have an injury any accident.  You may or may not be able to take yourself to the hospital or attend to yourself," said Difani.

"Chainsaws by definition are jagged cuts and typically can be seen by a doctor," said Lewis.

Lewis feels a lot of folks aren't experienced with using chainsaws.  He believes folks are picking up chainsaws to try to pick up some extra cash in this economy.  He's also seeing a lot of injuries in a particular generation of patients.

"I'm seeing an increase in elderly people that aren't necessarily as coordinated or as fast with their motor skills," said Lewis.

But even those who do have experience can have an accident.

"Your most experienced people have accidents just as well as your beginners, so it's not a matter of if you're going to have it," said Difani.

"Don't drink alcohol when you're cutting.  That's involved in probably 25% of these I've seen somebody's been drinking," said Lewis.

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