By Susan Bromley
– A 16-year-old township boy lost three fingers in a lawn mower accident last weekend.
According to an Oakland County Sheriff’s Office report, medics and deputies responded to the accident, which occurred at about 2:22 p.m., May 13. The injured teen had been attempting to help a 17-year-old friend who was mowing at his residence in the 2700 block of Mulberry. The pair were taking turns using a push mower on a hillside and as the 17-year-old cut the grass horizontally on a hillside bank, he lost his footing. The mower rolled to the left, exposing the moving blade.
The 17-year-old told deputies that his friend tried to right side the mower and in doing so, his left hand hit the moving mower blade.
Several firefighters who responded to the accident scene were able to locate the severed fingers for possible reattachment. The injured boy was transported to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak and later to U-M Hospital.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 274,000 people were treated for lawn-mower related injuries in 2015, including nearly 13,000 children under the age of 19.
Hands and feet should never be used to touch a lawn mower blade under any circumstances, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons— even if the engine is off, due to the possibility of the blade swinging suddenly once debris is cleared. The AAOS also recommends using caution when mowing hills and slopes: “Mow across slopes with a push mower to avoid pulling the mower over your feet if you happen to slip. Mow up and down slopes with a riding mower to prevent the mower from tipping over. Do not cut wet grass.”
A full list of safety tips can be found at the AAOS website, http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/ topic.cfm?topic=A00670.