ST. GEORGE - It took more than a dozen St. George firefighters and several power tools to free a man's arm after it became trapped in the blades of an industrial dough mixer Thursday night.
Firefighters and paramedics from Gold Cross Ambulance responded to 677 North 3050 East unit 15 at approximately 6:15 p.m. after the St. George 911 Communication Center received a report of a 22-year-old man whose arm and hand was "wrapped" around the blades of the mixer. The man, an employee of The Pasta Factory, was mixing pasta dough at the time of the accident
St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said several fire crews arrived on scene shortly after paramedics had started an IV with pain medication.
"It was a U-shaped mixing container with a shaft running through the middle of it, and then the mixing knives come out of that shaft," Stoker said. "His hand got down in there and it wrapped his left arm and hand in that shaft and pinned him up to his shoulder. It looked like at least one knife had penetrated through the arm."
To Stoker's surprise, the patient was "calm" and alert when he arrived on scene.
"As a patient, he did an extraordinary job of keeping it together," Stoker said. "He was conscious enough that he was telling us what was going on. Most patients are screaming, which they should be when you have something like that going on."
Stoker said fire crews disconnected power and began trying to take the machine apart shortly after arriving.
"As we disassembled the machine, it was obvious it would be an extended extraction because we couldn't really just reverse the shaft where that one blade was penetrating his arm," Stoker said.
Since crews couldn't immediately free the man's arm, they transported him to Dixie Regional Medical Center by ambulance with parts of the mixer still attached.
"We felt it was better for the patient's care to (extricate him) at the hospital with the doctors and other medical personnel there," Stoker said.
Firefighters used hand tools, grinders, air tools, circular saws, cutting torches and hydraulic extrication equipment for approximately 90 minutes in the emergency room ambulance bay before they were able to remove the stainless steel shaft and container, at which point medical personnel took the man into the hospital for X-rays and emergency surgery.
"They worked on him for another 30 minutes before they had all the machinery removed from the arm," Stoker said. "(His arm was) broken in multiple places plus there was a lot of tissue and bone damage. I'm not sure how long he was in surgery or how things turned out yet."
According to Pasta Factory owner Brad Nelson, the man was still recovering in the intensive care unit at DRMC on Friday.
Stoker said fire and medical crews worked together to keep the extraction running "smoothly."
"We get these types of things, but they are few and far between," Stoker said. "When we knew we'd probably transport him with (the machine) attached, we sent one of the crews to the hospital to get ready for us. They got a lot of their equipment out and were ready to go by the time the patient arrived. Everybody had their job, and it ran very smoothly."Follow Casie Forbes on Twitter, @CasieAForbes.