Spike Pierces Girl’s Arm After Fall

Spike Pierces Girl’s Arm After Fall

Removing the victim from the spike at the scene was too dangerous. She was supported in place while equipment was brought up.Entire section of iron fence was separated and carefully transported to the hospital with the victim—Paterson News photo by Mike Riccie.

A 10-year-old girl was impaled on a 6-inch iron fence spike when the girl lost her balance on a stairway and fell on the fence. The spike pierced her right arm.

A Paterson, N.J., Fire Department ambulance was dispatched at 3:25 p.m. last June 25 for what was thought to be a more routine call to an injured child in a rear yard. Of course, it quickly became obvious that this was not a routine incident.

The ambulance crew immediately radioed for the rescue squad to respond. Fire alarm also dispatched a battalion chief. 1 also responded and on arrival special-called Engine 5 to assist. Realizing the serious nature of the injury with the possibility of the victim going into shock, we knew removing her from the spike at the scene was out of the question. To do so without proper hospital facilities for treatment and to determine the extent of the injury would place her life in jeopardy or aggravate the injury.

It was decided from past experiences that the most expedient way to give proper care and comfort to the injured girl was to remove a section of the iron fence and transport her along with the section to the hospital.

Having arrived at a plan of action, a jaws-type hydraulic rescue tool with a cutting attachment was tried without success. It could do little but nick the tough iron bars that were made around the turn of the century. It was then decided that oxyacetylene equipment would have to be used. This in turn required that a larger section of the fence would have to be cut out due to the heat conduction near the pierced arm.

Asbestos blankets were placed around the victim and also around two men who were supporting her to protect them from the torch and accompanying sparks during the cutting operation. A booster line was used to apply water to the bars to keep the heat transmission and flying sparks to a minimum. Extra oxyacetylene equipment and saws were special-called as a back-up but were not needed.

Seven cuts were made with the torch, but one bar that was too close to the victim’s arm finally had to be cut with a hack saw.

The girl, with the spike still through her arm and supported by members of the rescue squad, was placed gently into the ambulance. Two members of Engine 5 were ordered to ride with her in the ambulance to support the heavy fencing still piercing her arm. The ambulance proceeded to St. Joseph’s Hospital at a very slow speed to avoid any excessive movement.

While anesthetized in the emergency room and after X rays were taken with a portable X-ray machine, two physicians assisted by two fire fighters, removed the section of spiked fence from the girl’s arm.

Fire fighters use oxyacetylene torch to cut fence section free. Hose trickles water to keep bars and Victim

cool—Paterson News photos by Lou Tunno.

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