Saturday, January 05, 2013

A Father's Plea: Please Respect the Ladder!

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Warning Do Not Stand On Top Step

Respect the Ladder!

By Mike Fortson
The UFO Chronicles
© 1-4-13
     Whether you work with a ladder every day or you are an occasional user of a ladder, I ask you to please read this father’s experience of an accident which never had to happen, if only my son had more–respect for the ladder.

Joey has been working with a ladder in his business for over 18 years. He installs and repairs Voice/Data/Phone/Fiber lines for businesses setting up their IT rooms and setting up their computer and voice lines. Nearly everything is cable and almost all cables are above the ceilings, thus his ladder is a major part of his business.

The following is a true, factual account of recent events:

5:31 pm Friday Dec 28, 2012- I received call from my daughter in law. She was crying and hysterical. Joey had fallen off his ladder and was injured. Paramedics said he was going to St. Joseph hospital in Phoenix.

5:36 pm Friday Dec 28, 2012- Called my wife at work. I told her to tell her immediate supervisor that there is a medical emergency for her son and to come home.

I had GOOGLED St. Joseph’s Hospital and found the quickest route. My wife arrived home, I explained all I knew to her and we were on our way. The trip to Phoenix was quiet. Not knowing was the scariest. My phone was quiet.

It took nearly 45 minutes to get to the hospital. Security at the Emergency entrance did not have my son’s name. He was not in the system. We knew he was in the Trauma Center, but they as well did not have Joey on their roster. We were going nuts. Joey was entered into the Trauma Center as “John Doe” because he had no ID on him. He leaves is wallet in his truck. (Mistake #1 always have your ID on you)

We got inside Trauma Wing where we found Joey’s wife, Sanja. In tears and uncertain of what’s going to happen, we were all a mess. She said the paramedics struggled to locate her because he had not entered information needed for contacts in case of emergency (Mistake #2. Go to Contacts in your cell phone. There is In Case of Emergency, your ICE Contacts. If you do not have ICE contacts, please reconsider)

After several hours in the Trauma Wing, he was finally entered into the system by his name and wheeled to the Intensive Care Unit. We finally met his ER doctor. He said Joey had fallen off the top of an 8’ ladder. He landed on his head and left shoulder. He has many skull fractures, and bleeding on his brain. There is a blood clot forming in his brain. He has a punctured lung and 8 broken ribs. He has a broken collar bone. He has several cracked vertebrae. He is on life support (breathing tube) and in a medically induced coma. They drilled a small hole in his skull to relieve pressure and allow drainage off the brain due to severe swelling. He has bleeding in his left ear.

We finally got to see our son. It was some three or four hours after the accident. His body full of tubes and sensors. His breathing was machine forced. He had nine bags of drips going into his arms. He was swollen and bruises were becoming darker and purple in color. We tried hard not to show it but we thought we may lose our son.

Family, tears and prayers for the next several days is all we had. The effects of this accident stretched half way around the globe.

Pain and hurt became anger and rage for me. My son made an error. He lost his balance on the ladder and fell. I have seen him do his thing on a ladder for several years. I have worked with him. I have seen him “fly” up the ladder. I have seen him recklessly not RESPECT THE LADDER. Please do not make this same mistake my son made.

Respect and obey safety warnings on your ladder. Make sure your ladder can support your weight and handle the task needed. Never stand on the top of the ladder. Don’t own the cheapest ladder, but one that is solid and safe and designed for your job needed.

I ask myself today, what if Joey had a 10’ ladder instead of the 8’ ladder he was using. He wouldn’t have been standing on the top. Maybe he wouldn’t have had his accident. All we can do is learn from our mistakes.

I am certain Joey will survive all this. It has been 1 week since we got the frantic call from our daughter-in-law. Joey is still on life support. He is still in a medically induced coma. The brain tube may be out in a couple days. He is still bruised and swollen. Brain tests yesterday show normal function activity and when they occasionally wake him from the “sedative coma” he does move on command. He is not paralyzed and not brain dead. He is lucky. He is very lucky. He is looking at another 2-3 weeks in intensive care. Then he has months of rehab. Yes, months.

Fortunately Joey has excellent medical insurance and disability coverage.

• Please consider the following:
• Have ICE Contacts in your cell.
• Always have your ID on your person.
• And most important of all, please RESPECT THE LADDER.
• Your life depends on it.


1 comment :

  1. Dear Mike & Family & Members herein:
    I regret very much your son, Joey's serious injuries, and I say this with a high degree of compassion and empathy, as I too, had a very serious fall while working at NASA that ended my working career. I am no stranger to terrible pains, nor am I a stranger to the power of prayer.
    Joey needs all of the support he can get from not only you and your loving family, but from anyone who read your accounting of his sufferings.
    Your guidelines for ladder safety should be taken seriously by us all, and thanks be to this website for posting it.
    You have my word that I will pray for Joey's speedy recovery and for an enlightenment of faith and strength on your part.
    God's Good Graces to you and yours.
    Jason Leigh


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