Man survives after chainsaw gets stuck in his neck

ROSS TOWNSHIP, Penn. - A man who climbs and trims trees for a living plans to take a few days off after getting a chainsaw stuck in his neck.

The x-ray pretty much says it all: a chainsaw barely missing James Valentine's major artery in the neck.

"I felt it and shut the saw off, because it was in me and it was still running. And then, I saw blood and it was just like, 'Oh, my gosh! What in the world?" said Valentine.

The 21-year-old tree cutter was taking down a tree in Ross Township Monday. He was cutting at an unusual angle to avoid power lines.

"I just revved it up, and it kicked back out on me and nicked me right here and got stuck in me right there, and that's when I tried to get out of the tree," said Valentine.

The blade of the chainsaw went into his left shoulder and cut into his neck. A co-worker helped valentine down from the tree. When paramedics arrived, they had a tough job taking the motor apart from the blade.

"An inch in either direction may change the outcome of this," said Greg Porter with Ross-West View EMS.

"This much. About a good two inches," said Dr. Christine Toevs, who treated Valentine at Allegheny General Hospital.

When he arrived the chainsaw was still stuck in his neck, which is exactly what needed to happen. The chainsaw had to stay in place to stop the bleeding until doctors removed it.

"In his case blessedly. He missed every important structure, just had a little muscle, what we call muscle and soft tissue and skin, and we fixed that and repaired that, and he's done quite well," said Toevs.

"Could have been a lot worse. Definitely. Definitely. Someone was looking over me for sure," said Valentine.

Valentine will take a few days to recover, but then plans on getting right back to his job.

"I'm a tree climber. That's what I do," he said.


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