A 70-year-old Oregon man was badly injured on Saturday when his hand became stuck in a corn picker in the Town of Dunn.
Oregon Area Fire/EMS was dispatched shortly after 10:30 a.m. and arrived on site at 10:39, Capt. Mike Venden told the Observer.
“At the time we responded it was unclear how long he’d been there before we arrived, but he was in a lot of pain, but he was still alert and conscious,” Venden said.
The man was extricated at 11:15 a.m. and then flown to UW Hospital by Med Flight with serious injuries, according to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office estimated that the accident occurred around 10:10 a.m. The patient had contacted a family member on his cell phone after his arm got caught, but then dropped the phone, Venden told the Observer.
One factor that makes farm accidents dangerous is that the responders are often unfamiliar with the intricacies of the equipment involved, Venden said.
“Personally I’m not that familiar with a corn picker from who knows when,” Venden said. “We just don’t want to do anything to make the situation worse.”
First responders often prefer to keep the scene clear by holding back members of the public. But in this case, friends and family began to arrive on scene who were familiar with the machine.
“We had some friends who came who knew that equipment better than us,” Venden said, “and that ultimately aided us in our success.”
Venden described the machine as having splines that caught the man’s jacket and pulled his arm in.
Oregon Fire/EMS also contacted the Fitchburg Fire Department while they were en route to the scene because of the nature of farm accidents.
“I just knew from past farm accidents they usually take a while and they usually take a lot of individuals,” Venden said.
Venden said that those accidents are always challenging, and that he was proud of the way the crews responded. First responders have a concept called a “golden hour;” the goal is to get the patient to a hospital within an hour of first making contact. When Venden first arrived on the scene in the Town of Dunn, he thought it would take an hour just to free the man’s arm.
“How we were able to get him out and to the hospital in under an hour, I thought was amazing,” Venden said. “The crew did a great job, the neighbors did a great job. I just give them all a lot of credit.”