Health Plus: Saw Accident, Part One - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Saw Accident, Part One


As more Americans tackle home improvement projects, more accidents result. And clearly any guy with a trophy room takes hunting very seriously.

But in the case of one eastern Iowa man, being an avid hunter is not what caused him to lose his trigger finger... a table saw did.

Roger Schmitt loves the sport so much, the Parkersburg man has worked for years as a hunting expert for Scheels in Cedar Falls.

"Probably one of the big things for me, I ran my own archery shop for 20 years in this area, so a lot of people count on me to set up their bows and get 'em ready for hunting season," he said.

A cabin he and his wife are building near Centerville is the perfect place for weekend hunting excursions--but it also turned out to be the scene of a life-changing accident.

This past July working there, the 64-year-old sliced off his index and middle fingers with a table saw.

"My one finger was on the table and one was on the floor because it not only took the two but the other one crossed the top," he said.

Eventually airlifted to a Des Moines hospital, Roger's fingers could not be reattached.

"Right-handed people are normally right-dominant eye. Right-dominant eye makes everything a lot tougher to do with the left hand," he said.

Now he's adjusting to life without his trigger finger as he goes through occupational therapy at Covenant's Kimball Ridge Center in Waterloo.

"This kind of injury like most other injuries it takes months and months and that's probably the one thing is to say it's going to get better just give it time," said Linda Westpfahl, occupational therapist and the only certified hand therapist in the area.

His therapist is working with Roger to restore knuckle movement.

"He had some open areas which is normal after an amputation. There's always a lot of swelling limiting mobility especially at the end joint so the goal is to maximize as much range of motion as we can get out of his fingers," said Linda.

By the way, he's already been back to the cabin putting up sheet rock.

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