UA surgeons save man impaled by shears
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – A Green Valley man impaled by pruning shears is expected to make a full recovery. 86-year-old Leroy Luetscher was tripped and fell, with pruning shears in hand on July 30. He says he still doesn't know exactly how he was accidentally impaled through the socket of his eye.
"I sort of pulled on it just a little, it seemed real solid so I just left it alone and realized that it was the clipper," he said, describing the accident, "it was excruciating. I can't tell you how much it hurt."
Luetscher was conscious the whole time. He screamed for his girlfriend of 12 years, Arpy Williams, who called 9-1-1.
"I don't know how I kept myself composed, I really don't," said Williams, "I guess in times like that you're just, I was just thinking of him and trying to do the best that I could for him."
When Luetscher arrived at the hospital, he shocked doctors. After x-rays, they realized the shears were resting above his carotid artery.
“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.”
“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,” said Dr. Polonski, clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology. “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.”
All that remains from the July 30 accident is some slight swelling of his upper and lower lids and minor double vision in the affected eye, said Dr. Polonski.
Luetscher said he knows he is lucky to be alive, “I am so grateful to the doctors and staff at UMC."