SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Surgeons forced to amputate a teenager’s leg who became crushed on railroad car, are speaking out on what it took to free him.
Looking down at the Union Pacific Railroad yard in South Salt Lake, you may not have realized a man's life was in jeopardy.
"We were in a situation where this was life or death," said Dr. Toby Enniss, Univ. of Utah Medical Center.
Surgeon Toby Enniss said Thursday emergency responders called to him the scene. A homeless man, 19-year-old David Frame from Indiana, became crushed on under a 90 ton cargo load of steel on a freight train from Denver.
"He was in an open rail car with a bunch of stripes of plates of steel at some point the steel shifted and pinned him from the waist down,” said Ron Morris, South Salt Lake Fire Chief.
Frame had been trapped for over 8 hours before anyone found him. Emergency crews immediately tried to free him but nothing worked.
"We brought in a crane, we tried to use that, but it was too rough, it was causing too much pain for him," said Morris.
So, Ennis and the surgical team were airlifted to the scene. It was clear they had to amputate the Frame’s leg to set him free.
"We tried to be as sterile as well as we could. It's no where near what we could do in the operating room, but we made due with what we had," said Enniss.
They quickly airlifted Frame to the hospital. The field surgery was something Enniss had never done before, and his work saved the man's life.
"It was really incredible to be a part of it," said Enniss.