Deaconess surgeons amputate man’s leg atop Purina Mills Plant



Posted on October 4, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 4 at 5:49 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Firefighters responded to Purina Mills Friday morning to extricate a man caught in machinery. 

Authorities said the man got his leg stuck in an auger at the factory on E. Trent Avenue. The man was reportedly conscious and talking after fire crews freed him from the machinery.  His right leg was surgically removed in the rescue. 

Crews then lowered the man down via crane from atop Purina Mills to be airlifted to Sacred Heart Medical Center

It was also not clear what led to the victim getting trapped in the auger. 

First responders deal with many kinds of rescues, but rarely kinds of this sort.

"Patient's leg was in the left side of the auger," said Assistant Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer. "And traumatically, the patient actually saw his foot coming out the right side of the auger."

Crews said time was of the essence, and multiple agencies were called out to assist first responders, including the Sheriff's Office, MedStar, and local hospitals.

"All other routes of extrication were not working and it was impractical to stay there any longer or the patient would have expired," said Assistant Chief Schaeffer.

Crews made a decision to amputate the man's leg. The man was sedated with the help of a surgical team from Deaconess, and his leg was amputated while he and the teams were still 60 feet off of the ground.

"It's not a perfect scenario to be working in," said Assistant Chief Schaeffer. "They adapted, they overcame, and did a great job."

The man was lowered by a crane and airlifted to Sacred Heart. Officials said the man was in surgery by Friday afternoon. Fire officials said that his prognosis was good, but his official condition is unknown.