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Chainsaw blade gets stuck in Pennsylvania tree trimmer's neck

April 02, 2014|By Michael Muskal

Some jobs can really be a pain in the neck, as a Pennsylvania tree trimmer discovered this week.

James Valentine, 21, was trimming a tree in Ross Township on Monday when he was struck in the neck by a chainsaw blade. He was rushed to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

“It was just a freak accident. It could happen to anybody climbing a tree,” Valentine told KDKA a day after the accident from his hospital bed. “The chainsaw came back at me and got stuck in my neck.”

Valentine was in a harness halfway up the tree along Perry Highway when something happened forcing the chainsaw blade to embed in his neck and shoulder area.

Valentine turned the saw off, held it in place and began climbing down the tree.

“I was holding it with this hand and scooted down with this hand,” he told reporters. “Soon as I got down… Just seeing the blood just squirting out -- that was crazy.”

A co-worker climbed the tree and brought the man down. A doctor on the scene then stabilized the victim so he could be moved to the hospital.

Doctors said the saw missed major arteries but cut into muscle.

The hospital Tuesday released an X-ray showing the saw still in the 21-year-old's neck.

“He was not critically injured. He was awake and talking to us when he came in,” Dr. Christine Toevs, a trauma surgeon, told reporters. “We took the chainsaw out, and there was no bleeding.”

Valentine had stitches and sutures to the neck and is expected to make a full recovery.

“I am a tree climber; that’s what I do,” he said.

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