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(closed) Careless with my saw

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Forum topic by 67flh posted 02-14-2015 04:55 PM 2756 views 0 times favorited 50 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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67flh

27 posts in 747 days


02-14-2015 04:55 PM

On January 5th I got careless while operating my table saw, for some reason I felt the need to reach over the saw with my left hand while I was ripping a board. It happened so fast that I have no idea as to how I came in contact with the blade. When I pulled my hand back my thumb was splayed open in three directions, it was beyond a mess. I did not panic, I wrapped it in paper towels as it was bleeding quite a bit and headed to the house.

When I got into the house and was getting a towel to wrap it in I noticed that I had also cut the index finger removing the rt. side of the nail and opening the finger up to the second joint. I then as I was by myself drove the 12 miles into the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics emergency room. The nurse that admitted me told me that mine was the 5th table saw accident that he had seen this year, 5 days into the year and 5 accidents, that struck me as excessive till I did some online research and found that emergency rooms treat nearly 31,000 table saw accident patients each year. The good news was as he put it that mine did not look all that bad as compared to the others.

Initially I was in no pain, this changed about an hour after the accident and they gave me a shot of something that helped to a degree. I cannot say enough good things about the treatment I received. The hospital has a “Orthopedic hand team” and one of them was assigned to me. She spent every bit of two hours to stitch up my thumb and forefinger. She used massive amounts of lidocaine in an effort to make the procedure as painless for me as possible, but short of knocking me completely out I felt each time she pulled the needle through my flesh. With each stitch I pledged to myself that I would never do anything as careless as I had done that morning.

Five weeks post-accident my fingers are healing nicely, however they are both very swollen and more than a little sensitive, the thumb will not bend at all the forefinger will bend a little. My doctor tells me it will be at least a year before my thumb gets back to whatever normal I can hope it to be. I am very lucky to have all my digits! I only lost the very tip of the bone in my thumb, and did no damage to any of the tendons.

Up until now I have been hesitant to share my story, in fact I have been too embarrassed to share what I did with anyone. I am going to guess that the bulk of the folks who have had table saw accidents like mine may feel the same way. I told my doc that it was probably the stupidest thing I ever did in my entire life, she asked me if I had done it on purpose I said no. That makes it an accident she said, she then told me she had seen stupid before. I was just plain careless.

I am again using my saw but I am using it with a new found respect for what it is capable of doing to the human body. I will not make the same mistake twice, and I fully accept the personal responsibility for what happened, my saw was not the problem I was.

-- Brad


50 replies so far

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helluvawreck

23189 posts in 2332 days


#1 posted 02-14-2015 05:07 PM

Brad, I hope that it heals up ok and that it’s without any complications. That can happen to any of us.

helluvawreck
https://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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soob

223 posts in 674 days


#2 posted 02-14-2015 05:22 PM

I wouldn’t worry too much about the stiffness. It’s normal with an injury like that. It may take a year to heal as much as it’s going to, but it should be close to normal much sooner.

At least you got treated well at the hospital. I’ve been to the ER twice. Long ago, some punk stuck me in the leg with a pocket knife. I waited for hours watching the indigents with tummy aches go ahead of me. Finally I asked what was up and they said “A knife!? We thought you meant a pencil or something. You didn’t look hurt.”

The most recent time I came in with a gash on one of my wrists. The nurse at the desk hands me a pad and a pencil and says fill this out. I said, look, lady, I can’t hold the pad and the pencil and keep the wound closed at the same time. Eventually a nurse practitioner sewed it up. The total bill (and I do not exaggerate here) was about $300 a minute for her time. And that was only because I refused an x-ray—before ANYONE had even looked it, they wanted to x-ray it. Hope your pocketbook came out okay.

Edit: the best part of the story is that they told me to come back—to the ER—to get the stitches taken out. Yeah right!

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toolie

2025 posts in 2094 days


#3 posted 02-14-2015 05:28 PM

i hear you. my 2 stitch accident taught me early on in my WW experience that moving metal blades will win over flesh every time, so i am uber careful. hope you heal well and fast.

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

1061 posts in 3079 days


#4 posted 02-15-2015 12:56 PM

The nurse that admitted me told me that mine was the 5th table saw accident that he had seen this year, 5 days into the year and 5 accidents, that struck me as excessive till I did some online research and found that emergency rooms treat nearly 31,000 table saw accident patients each year.

I am calling BS on this. Let’s use a little common sense…

If there are 31,000 table saw accident patients each year in the US (I won’t dispute this statement, that’s in line with what I have read) then that is a total of 84 accidents per day across the entire US. Now, in order for your hospital to see 1/84 of those accidents every day on average, then that hospital must be responsible for about 1/84th of the population in the US – that’s simple statistics.

Current population of the US (2014 – US Census Bureau) is ~318 million. Are you telling me that the hospital you visited is responsible for the care of 38 million people? Bullcrap!

Stephen Gass, is that you pumping up more demand for your SawStop?

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View soob's profile

soob

223 posts in 674 days


#5 posted 02-15-2015 01:13 PM

Like murders and suicides, accidents are not going to be evenly distributed across every day. I bet weekend warriors tend to get hurt during the off hours. Christmas vacation is a good time to hurt yourself, statistically speaking.

Also not going to be evenly distributed across the country. Not a lot of folks in NYC playing with table saws.

I say that but I expect most table saw accidents are minor and/or work-involved. Those tiny benchtop saws are 10x more dangerous than cabinet saws.

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Redoak49

1954 posts in 1454 days


#6 posted 02-15-2015 01:44 PM

Sorry about the accident and hope you heal completely. It is not easy to post an accident like this and be brutally honest about how it happened. However, it is good for everyone to read about accidents and understand how quickly things can happen.

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Bill7255

354 posts in 1751 days


#7 posted 02-15-2015 01:47 PM

Brad. Hope you recover quickly.
I agree with Soob. EEningeer satistics are BS. This is about an injury and a reminder things can happen.

-- Bill R

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EEngineer

1061 posts in 3079 days


#8 posted 02-15-2015 01:53 PM

EEningeer satistics are BS. This is about an injury and a reminder things can happen.

You people are guppies… you’ll swallow anything. “statistics are BS” well, no, they are not. Soob brings up some valid points, but to skew the averages that much is just beyond credible. Either 67flh is lieing or the nurse he was talking to is lieing.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Randy_ATX's profile

Randy_ATX

835 posts in 1908 days


#9 posted 02-15-2015 02:07 PM

Thanks for sharing your story with the rest of us. I respect the H*LL out of the tablesaw and these stories always reinforce that for me. Heal fast!

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3945 posts in 1959 days


#10 posted 02-15-2015 02:53 PM

I want to wish you a speedy and complete recovery as well.Also thank you for sharing, I can appreciate the stima….but it’s really valuable for all of us to be reminded of the things that can go wrong in the shop. Best to you, and thanks.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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67flh

27 posts in 747 days


#11 posted 02-15-2015 03:27 PM

And the reason I would lie about this is because??? I am just telling all what the nurse told me, you are more than welcome to come up to Iowa City and look into this claim further if you wish. Perhaps we are just clutsier here.

Have a nice day !


The nurse that admitted me told me that mine was the 5th table saw accident that he had seen this year, 5 days into the year and 5 accidents, that struck me as excessive till I did some online research and found that emergency rooms treat nearly 31,000 table saw accident patients each year.

I am calling BS on this. Let s use a little common sense…

If there are 31,000 table saw accident patients each year in the US (I won t dispute this statement, that s in line with what I have read) then that is a total of 84 accidents per day across the entire US. Now, in order for your hospital to see 1/84 of those accidents every day on average, then that hospital must be responsible for about 1/84th of the population in the US – that s simple statistics.

Current population of the US (2014 – US Census Bureau) is ~318 million. Are you telling me that the hospital you visited is responsible for the care of 38 million people? Bullcrap!

Stephen Gass, is that you pumping up more demand for your SawStop?

- EEngineer


-- Brad

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fuigb

404 posts in 2423 days


#12 posted 02-15-2015 03:28 PM

Re: BS / not BS… who knows about the truth in this case. The important part is the anecdote about a guy who did a dummy and is now paying a stuff price. There but for the grace of God (and unwavering safety-related processes) go I and maybe all here.

Five TS f-ups in five days at the same ER does sound far-fetched but from the world of behavioral science and data analytics consider this…

-sample bias: woodworkers and even careless woodworkers (sorry, OP) are not randomly distributed in the US. There are areas of concentration and areas of dearth. Could be that this story is from an area of unusual concentration
-seasonal bias: woodworking activity and injuries are distributed normally? If so then that’s a first. Example: evidence has been floated that shows self-inflicted knife wounds spike on weekends. Suicide attempts? Nah, it’s work-a-day sorts taking time for breakfast on their days off and losing control of the bread knife while splitting bagels
-basic psychology, I.e. people cannot count. Very well documented that people are very bad at reporting figures from memory and estimating.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

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john43

12 posts in 1589 days


#13 posted 02-15-2015 03:46 PM

That’s why I bought a Sawstop. A bit pricy, yes, but not when you consider what can happen to one’s had on a table saw. Very well made also.

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

1061 posts in 3079 days


#14 posted 02-15-2015 04:39 PM

Again, a little common sense…

31,000 accidents over a population of 318,000,000.

Iowa City has a population of ~72,000. On average, that would represent 7 accidents per year. Or, again on the average, one every 52 days. And they had 5 in the first 5 days of this year?

Brad’s casual comment about 5 accidents in the first 5 days of the year make it sound like an epidemic doesn’t it? But it is not!

Consider this article from Popular wood working Magazine:

Table Saw Injury Numbers in Perspective

In 2009, there was an estimated total of about 22,000 finger amputations due to accidents of all kinds in the United States. There is no doubt that table saws are a significant portion of that number. Once again, the database sample is too small to provide estimates for many other items, but there was one item that caused about the same number of finger amputations as table saws, and about 10 times the number of total accidents. In addition, this product caused enough finger amputations among children under the age of 18 to generate an
estimate of total occurrences, about 45 percent of the total. Five children a day are enduring finger amputations due to this hazard. The name of this product? The door.

This hysteria over table saw accidents is a growing trend on Lumberjocks and totally unwarranted.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

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Richard H

489 posts in 1146 days


#15 posted 02-15-2015 05:02 PM

I’m not sure why someone would challenge what the OP said. Maybe the nurse was exaggerating or maybe there was a rash of them around the same time we don’t know but there is no reason to accuse the OP of lying just because it doesn’t fit into your view of the world.

As for table saw accidents, they do happen especially on job sites. However I would mention there are a lot of ways to equally hurt yourself on other power tools as well. My TA last semester and I where talking about the saw stop’s they have in the school shop and he mentioned that among commercial shops Jointers and Rotary Tools (Shapers/Routers) contribute to more employee injuries than table saws. It’s only when you add in field sites that table saw injuries sky rocket. I don’t know where he got his numbers and I didn’t challenge him on it as it might of been more his experience than empirical I don’t know but it did stress to me that having a Saw Stop in your shop doesn’t make your shop safe from these kinds of injuries it just means you have a great safety system on that one tool.

And just because there are more hand accidents with doors than table saws doesn’t mean we should just toss aside the issue. There are way to many accidents on table saws that should be easily preventable. Be it Saw Stop or proper training and technique it’s inexcusable that this industry has tolerated such injury rates for as long as it has. We as a society should have long ago moved past the notion of acceptable injury rates for some industries. It use to be that if you built a skyscraper you accepted so many people would die per floor. That practice doesn’t happen anymore because we no longer tolerate businesses to operate like that. I’m not saying we need to mandate braking technology on every table saw sold but the use and operation of a table saw safely isn’t difficult it just takes focus, some basic safety equipment and following a few very simple rules. If this industry more closely enforced that alone the injury rate on table saws would cut way down and I dare say the need for the Saw Stop in the first place would have never been there.

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