Elderly gardener survives after impaling eye with pruning shears

Posted Aug 31, 2011 by Kev Hedges
An 86-year-old man from Arizona has tumbled over in his garden and fallen face-first on the handle of his pruning shears. He had just finished trimming plants in his back garden when the horrific accident occurred.
A CT scan shows a pair of pruning shears embedded in the head of 86-year-old Leroy Luetscher. Luetsc...
A CT scan shows a pair of pruning shears embedded in the head of 86-year-old Leroy Luetscher. Luetscher accidentally impaled himself through his eye socket after falling on the shears while working in his yard.
Courtesy University Medical Center
X-rays showed one of the handles of the pruning shears had gone through his right eye socket and halfway into his head. Covered in blood and in more pain than he could ever recall before in his life, Leroy Luetscher felt the handle of the shears sticking out from eye socket. He had no idea if his eyeball was still there and his pain was so intense he was not afraid of death.
“You wouldn’t believe your eyes,” said Dr. Wynne, assistant professor in the UA Department of Surgery. “Half of the pruning shears was sticking out and the other half was in his head.”
Luetscher used his T-shirt to stem the bleeding and the intense pain allowed him to stay conscious long enough to walk to the laundry room in his house where his partner rang 911.
“You just wonder how the handle of the pruning shears got there. The handle was actually resting on the external carotid artery in his neck,” Dr. Polonski, clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology said in a news release. “With the help of Dr. Wynne and Dr. Goshima, we decided we could safely remove the pruning shears. We are so happy that Mr. Luetscher did not lose his eye or any vital structures.”
Since the macabre accident happened on July 30 Luetscher, a Green Valley resident, has made a remarkable recovery. He still has some mild swelling in his eyelids and minor double-vision but otherwise doctors -- who rebuilt the eye-socket bone -- say he is OK.
Surgeons at the University Medical Center in Tucson took X-rays and learned that the shears handle had penetrated six inches into his head and was resting against the carotid artery in his neck. Surgeon Dr. Lynn Polonski said, "It was a bit overwhelming, it was wedged in there so tightly, you could not move it. It was part of his face."
Surgeons said if the handle had gone just a few millimetres in another direction it would have proved fatal or he could have had a stroke, reports msnbc.