Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Child Loses Foot In Law Mower Accident

A trip to the Cincinnati Zoo for any other kid is a great day, but for three-year old Brandon Mefford, it's a miracle.
"I immediately thought he was going to die," stated Brandon's mother, Elizabeth.
Since April 4th, Brandon's whole world has been here in this hospital bed surrounded by doctors, nurses, and pain.
"This is definitely the worst experience I have ever had in my life," exclaimed Mefford.
When Mefford got to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, she didn't know what to expect. "He got run over by the riding lawn mower, he's three years old, look at how little he is."
Brandon immediately had his arm amputated above his right elbow, and doctors braced the family for more troubling news. "Then the doctor came in and he said 'I need you to come and sign this consent form.' I asked, 'What for?' and on it, it said 'Right foot amputation,'" recalled Mefford. "That's the worst feeling ever is to give the doctor consent to cut your kid's foot off."
"His leg was a lot harder to explain than his arm. He took his leg very hard when he saw he had no piggies," described his mother.
With seven surgeries already behind them, Brandon's mother now worries about the future, even the simple things like "The song 'If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands,' you know stomp your feet. And I cried for hours because I thought he's not going to be able to sing that song."
But Brandon's not one to stay down, this is his therapy. "We just kind of get up and go, walk and run, and chase, go outside, and he likes the basketball hoop," listed Brandon's physical therapist Michelle Michels. "Yeah, so he wears me out, for sure, but it's good. He does a great job!"
"The main thing was to try and figure out how to get him up on his legs and standing, to help his transition when he gets the prosthesis and all of that to go a little smoother," added Michels.
For Brandon, therapy looks a little like play time, but each element has a purpose. Although, Brandon tends to disagree. With each kick he takes and each move he makes, a new hope rises.
"The longer that I'm here the more I realize that he's strong," said Mefford, adding, "he's going to be able to hold his kids when he gets older, and he's going to be able to run around the yard, and he's going to be able to sing the song and clap his hands."
Which is something that will make his mother proud. Brandon was released from the hospital earlier this week.
Thousands of accidents like this happen every year and can be prevented. Every year some 25,000 Americans sustain injuries from power mowers, according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.
"Although the number of accidents has steadily declined since the 1982 adoption of federal safety standards, we still see too many foot injuries from power mowers," says Timothy M. Downs, DPM, FACAS, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). "The blades whirl at 3,000 revolutions per minute and produce three times the kinetic energy of a .357 handgun. Yet we see patients who have been hurt while operating a mower barefoot. Foot injuries range from dirty, infection-prone lacerations to severed tendons to amputated toes."
If a mower accident occurs- with just a minor injury- our podiatrists say immediate treatment is necessary to flush the wound thoroughly and apply antibiotics to prevent infection. Superficial wounds can be treated on an outpatient basis, but more serious injuries usually require surgical intervention to repair tendon damage, deep clean the wound and suture it. Tendons severed in lawnmower accidents generally can be re-attached surgically unless toes have been amputated.
Children under the age of 14 and adults over age 44 are more likely to be injured from mowers than others. Anyone who operates a power mower should follow a few simple precautions:
  • Don't mow a wet lawn. Losing control from slipping on rain-soaked grass is the leading cause of foot injuries caused by power mowers. 
  • Wear heavy shoes or work boots when mowing- no sneakers or sandals.
  • Mow slowly across slopes, never go up and down. 
  • Never pull a running mower backward.
  • Keep the clip bag attached when operating a power mower to prevent projectile injuries. 
  • Use a mower with a release mechanism on the handle that automatically shuts it off when the hands let go.
  • Always keep children away from the lawn when mowing it. 
If you get a lawn mower foot injury, call one of our six offices to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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