SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A 19-year-old man is recoverying after emergency crews amputated his leg inorder to free him from 90 tons of steel on a train car in Salt Lake City.
Union Pacific crews discovered the man around 1:00 p.m. at their rail yard near 3100 S. and 900 W. in South Salt Lake. He had apparently been catching a ride on a cargo train from Denver. He'd been trapped for nearly 8 hours before he was found. Fire crews tell ABC 4 someone along the rail line his dog fell down into area between the cargo, the man attempted to rescue his dog, the steel cargo shifted, and the steel crushed his legs, and killed the dog.
After several attempts failed from emergency crews to free the man, surgeons were flown in from the University of Utah. ABC 4 News spoke with one of the surgeons Dr. Toby Enniss. "The first time I've ever experienced anything like this." Surgeons say they had to amputate one of the man's legs. And we learned his other leg was also crushed.
Dr. Enniss told us he approached the surgery Thursday afternoon by first thinking about what he would need if he were doing this in the hospital. He says he rounded up the equipment and got to the scene as quickly as possible. "We were in a situation where this, again, was was life or death." We asked him how a surgeon approaches a major operation in a "not so sterile" enviornment. He says - you do what you can. "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." Dr. Eniss says conducting an amputation in the field was sureal. "It was a real neat and unique experience to see the firefighters and life flight crew and see everything that goes into stablizing and extracting a patient." "It was really incredible to be part of it."
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