I got lucky. Know where your emergency shop kit and closest Urgent Care are!

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Forum topic by Holbs posted 11-12-2018 08:58 PM 3715 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2343 posts in 2800 days

11-12-2018 08:58 PM

I got bit. Not by a high rpm spinning saw blade or pounding upon a chisel, but by a utility knife. I was working on the top of a plastic 55 gallon lid to accept a 6” duct after jigsawing a rough circle and then fine cutting with utility knife. I installed a fresh utility blade and on the first fine tuning slice, something went amiss and the utility blade slipped off the hole and through the meat of my left thumb which was holding the piece, and then bumped my arm. I quickly looked at the arm and thought “whew…no damage, that was close”. But then I saw my internal red fluid gushing on the floor from my left hand. It looked like Game Of Throne’s Arya Stark assassinating my left hand amount of internal red fluid coming out. I didn’t panic. Thanks to previous LumberJock shop accident posts, I had emergency kit in my shop for such an accident. But wasn’t enough because my red internal fluid soaked the gauze in mere seconds and was still dripping on the floor. I knew this was not a paper cut that could be dealt with in the home. Doctor time!
However, with the changes of the health care system in the last couple years… I had no idea where to go with my health insurance folks! The big hospital is 20 mins away with ER facilities. I’ve never visited the ER in my life so was spooked at the common talk of 4 hour wait times. Urgent Care? There was one just mere minutes away! But do they take my insurance? Would they reject me for wrong insurance? I had no answers but knew at least they could assess the wound and advise me. My friend drove me to the Urgent Care (this was on a Sunday mind you…were they even open?). They were open and accepted my insurance, saw me and cleaned the surrounding wound and started to stabilize. This is where I passed out :) Though for sure, I would need 5 gallons of blood infusion and thought I messed up my thumb for life. They said way too deep of a cut for them to address and best to head down to ER.
20 minute wait at ER and doc saw me. 8 stitches and a clean laceration with no apparent damage to tendon or lasting muscle issues. 1/4” to the right or a hair deeper, would of been another story. He said was the best place to have an accident.
So… good advice here about workshop accidents throughout the forum posts. Some folks have had more serious life changing accidents then my little flesh wound.
The only thing I could add to shop accident preparedness is not only have a medical kit in your shop like many say…but also know the closest emergency location, hours of operation, what they do / not do. When an accident does happen, you have no time to think of such mundane things. This Urgent Care has no Doctor so not allowed to do stitches, only sutures. But capable enough to stabilize this wound enough to make it to ER.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

32 replies so far

View jamsomito's profile


547 posts in 1197 days

#1 posted 11-12-2018 09:24 PM

So if I’m gonna have an accident, have it right there. Got it!

Seriously glad the prognosis is good and you got the help you needed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve slipped with the utility knife in my own general direction. Make a quick adjustment and keep at it, issue out of mind. It’s easy to take a knife for granted when they’re not power tools and you use them all the time. Thanks for the wake up call.

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2343 posts in 2800 days

#2 posted 11-12-2018 09:28 PM

I’ve played with utility knife for 50 years. In the military, you would get safety flagged for drawing the knife towards you instead of away. I would call this a simple accident, while avoidable, it’s just more realistic to say when working with sharp objects in a shop, a boo boo will happen. It’s just a matter of when. I do not apply this logic to spinning blades because I do pre/during/post safety checks due to the much larger injury that could occur. Hence, not going all out to purchase a SawStop at this time :)

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View Firewood's profile


1217 posts in 2404 days

#3 posted 11-12-2018 09:47 PM

Yeah, I did that some years back scori g drywall. A real bonehead move. I’m glad it wasn’t more serious.

-- Mike - Waukesha, WI

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2343 posts in 2800 days

#4 posted 11-12-2018 09:51 PM

Mike…ewww. Drywalls chemicals in your wound. I was lucky in that it was a fresh new blade so not much in contamination (still got a tetnus shot). Couldn’t image the docs scrounging their faces when you told them drywall utility blade :)

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1670 days

#5 posted 11-12-2018 09:54 PM

I do not apply this logic to spinning blades because I do pre/during/post safety checks due to the much larger injury that could occur. Hence, not going all out to purchase a SawStop at this time :)

- Holbs

You need to invent a box knife with flesh sensing technology. A blade that would retract in milliseconds.

That looks like it was pretty deep.
Glad it wasn’t worst.
Keep it clean, give it a few days before going full out.

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2343 posts in 2800 days

#6 posted 11-12-2018 09:56 PM

J… and get sued? :)

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View JohnMcClure's profile


1017 posts in 1411 days

#7 posted 11-12-2018 09:57 PM

Thanks for sharing this. Looking at your stitches, I have a scar in exactly the same location from a pocketknife incident about 7 years ago. Same situation – holding the work with my left, cutting sort-of toward my hand, knife slipped out past the cut.
Difference was, I was in a situation where admitting an incident (and the whittling activity that led to it) could have had repercussions. A big handful of shop towels and some duct tape is how I managed the wound.

This post reminds me of another recent discussion here in which locking the shop door to avoid distracting visits from family members while cutting… another member suggested that in some situations, that locked door could prevent your family members from coming to your rescue.

These discussions are very good food for thought – I need to put a first aid kit in my shop!

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1260 days

#8 posted 11-12-2018 10:02 PM

Thanks for posting this, and I’m glad you are doing fine. Other than the passing out part, it seems you avoided any serious issues. I haven’t had any issues with a utility knife, knock on wood, but there are times when the knife turned or slipped in a way that I didn’t expect, and it could have lead to something. It’s like chisels, I don’t think most people think of them when the topic of shop safety comes up, but I’ve seen a few people that had to go to ER because they didn’t keep two hands on them.

Good advice about the FA kit. My wife is a nurse so I have a lot of supplies, but I’ve been in a lot of home shops that don’t have anything past a few Band Aids.

View DMiller's profile


537 posts in 1243 days

#9 posted 11-12-2018 10:10 PM

Hope you recover quickly! A similar thing happened to me about six weeks ago; except it involved a dremel 2” carving blade in a drill press. Trimming off the excess wood on a project- came to the corner and the blade caught and through the wood, sending the back of my hand into the blade. Ended up in the er and received fifteen stitches; thankfully, other than the size of the cut, it wasn’t all that bad. Definitely reminds me of shop safety- hope you have a speedy recovery!

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."

View rockusaf's profile


167 posts in 873 days

#10 posted 11-12-2018 10:13 PM

Thanks for sharing, glad you weren’t hurt too bad. We can all use a reminder every once in a while that we play with dangerous things in the shop all the time. I don’t currently have a first aid kit in the shop, usually use blue shop towel and electrical tape if I cut myself good enough, but I will remedy that soon.


-- Measure Once Cuss Twice

View Holbs's profile


2343 posts in 2800 days

#11 posted 11-12-2018 10:16 PM

It was after some serious LJ accident post that I spent a good $50-$80 on medical supplies dedicated for shop use. From all sorts of bandaids, good tweezers, gauze, wrap, liquid bandages, even a tourniquet. All in wall hung medicine cabinet near entry door.
What was kinda cool was during the accident, all I could think of were previous accident posts :) I knew with the crime scene massacre blood splatters, I would temp pass out due to sudden drop of blood pressure eventually. Before that happened, I prepared myself for it. Except for where to go after :)
Hence my strong advice about knowing where to go after an accident. You do not have time to think about the address or if they are open or such when your head is flushing down the toilet.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View pintodeluxe's profile


6150 posts in 3584 days

#12 posted 11-12-2018 10:16 PM

These are the injuries that really chap my hide. When a utility knife or a chisel gets you good. There’s not even a power tool to blame! Hey, I’ve been there. Take it easy for a while ok?

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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9850 posts in 1755 days

#13 posted 11-12-2018 11:07 PM

everyone always talks about cutting a finger off on the table saw but as youve shown the simpelist tool can cause a lot of damage.every aspect of woodworking has its own dangers.thanks for sharing this,i think weve all been guilty of not being careful using sharp knives.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2257 days

#14 posted 11-13-2018 12:57 AM

If shop towels and tape can’t fix it. Nothing can.

I did the same action to my thumb but with a freshly sharpened 1/4” chisel. Amazing how deep them things can go.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View diverlloyd's profile


3920 posts in 2628 days

#15 posted 11-13-2018 01:09 AM

Worst shop cut I have had in the wood shop was from the tape measure tape on the table saw. It sounds dumb but it was damn sharp and cut me like a champ across my palm. I was using a red pad to apply wax to it. It cut through the pad,the glove and the palm. Who would think that the tape measure tape would be like a razor. I stitched it up and was back at it. Tried to get the wife to learn how to do stitches but that is a big no go since she about passed out on that one.

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