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Surgeons save arms of man who sawed them to bone at Home Depot

April 11, 2013|By Joseph Serna

Surgeons managed to save the arms of a man who walked into a West Covina Home Depot and sawed them to the bone, police said.

The man, who West Covina police described as being in his 50s, was in critical condition Thursday at a hospital, said Cpl. Rudy Lopez.

Detectives have spoken with the man’s family but have not talked to him themselves because he lost a lot of blood and has not recovered enough to talk, Lopez said.

West Covina police say the man calmly and quietly walked into Home Depot before 1 p.m. Wednesday and headed to the hardware section where the saws were.

“He walked into the saw area and began cutting both of his arms,” Lopez said earlier. “One was a saw used to cut drywall. He used several saws.”

The man cut both arms down to the bone -– Lopez said there were wounds both above and below the elbow -– as panicked customers called 911 for help.

The man was passing out as officers arrived, police said.

Art Hurtado, an off-duty Pasadena paramedic who was at the store, was the first medic on scene to help police.

“Found him face down, blood all over the store, multiple aisles,” Hurtado told NBC4. “Barely had a pulse and he was just barely breathing.”

Officers tried to help when Hurtado arrived from another part of the store. He told the TV station he thought it was going to be a crime scene with a fatality.

Hurtado told workers to get lots of towels. People came back with towels and quarter-inch nylon rope.

“I ripped it open and started stretching it out,” Hurtado said. “I told the police officer I wanted 24-inch sections, just start cutting.”

They created makeshift tourniquets using the rope, towels and twine. They wrapped them around the man’s biceps.

“If I didn’t have rope I would’ve used my shoelaces,” Hurtado said. “We would’ve made it work.”

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Joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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