Two public workers who were performing sidewalk maintenance in Lewiston, Maine are being hailed as heroes this week after encountering a severely injured man stumbling down the street toward them. It appeared his arm had been completely severed near the shoulder. They could tell it was a very recent injury, as he was carrying his severed arm in his remaining hand.

That is what those of us in the workers’ compensation injury biz would call “a clue.”

The public workers had apparently been trained by the city in the use of tourniquets. They applied one and stayed with the man while waiting for an ambulance. Officials say their quick thinking and calm demeanor probably saved the man’s life. 

Witnesses apparently said he lost his arm in a workplace accident.

Investigators were able to follow the trail of blood back to a general merchandise store, where the injured man apparently hurt himself while operating a bandsaw. As of last Friday afternoon, police were still trying to identify the man’s name, as well as the owner of the store.

Ok, this will not be a surprise, but we have questions. The very first one would be, “What the hell happened here?” What circumstances could possibly exist where a man could completely sever his arm with a bandsaw and is apparently allowed to just pick up his arm and leave? No one tried to help, and police had to identify the location of the injury by following a blood trail? Co-workers never called anyone? I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that interview.

Officer: Did you see what happened?

Co-Worker: Well, I was just goin’ on my break, and I hears this really weird sound comin’ from the bandsaw, kinda like it was cutting a side of beef. And I says to myself, that is weird, cause we’re a general merchandise store and we ain’t got no beef.

Officer: I see.

Co-Worker: Anywhoo, I sees this guy just cut his arm clean off with that saw. It was a heckuva mess. And then he starts to wander out the door, and his shift ain’t even over. Can you believe that? I says, “Hey, buddy, you should clean up that mess, and don’t think about leavin’ that arm here for someone else to git cleaned up. Don’t forgit to take the damn arm. “

Officer: And he just left? You didn’t try to help him?

Co-Worker: You ain’t listenin. I said I was goin’ on my break….

Officer: What is the man’s name?

Co-Worker: Beats me. I just work here.

Officer: Who do you work for?

Co-Worker: Beats me. I just work here. 

That is of course a dramatic recreation based on pure speculation, but I’m sure it went something like that. I am very intuitive about these things.

And it might just explain why a severely injured man was allowed to pick up a severed limb and leave without anyone doing anything to help him.

The injured man was transported to a hospital, and it is unclear if doctors were able to reattach his severed limb. What is clear, however, is that if he recovers, he should find an employer with a greater sense of responsibility when it comes to the safety of their workers.

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