Heidi Hetzer - Update #27 - The Accident

DIDN'T HAPPEN ON THE ROAD

We were significantly concerned after receiving an overnight note. According to the details Heidi had a very bad accident, receiving injuries that required surgery. Our first thoughts, "Oh no!" leaving us worried whatever happened could end the remainder of her quest.

Sadly, the accident was the result of impatience. It's something we are all guilty of from time to time, so we take this opportunity to use the results as a form of education to all of our members, readers and followers.

CAR VS. HAND...THE CAR ALWAYS WINS
As communicated by Heidi's assistant and daughter, Marta. 

How did this happen? The car was on the lift and the engine was running. Heidi had been tracking down a nagging oil leak. Rather than lowering the car and shutting off the engine, she grabbed a rag and began wiping away the residual oil. Heidi's cloth was caught in the moving parts, her hand and the rag were pulled back quickly. It could have been worse."

To that, we must regrettably say, it could have been much better. While hindsight is always 20/20, no one should ever short-cut safety by inappropriately sticking their hands into the engine bay while the car is running. Even when experienced professionals tackle the job of adjusting timing or carburetor settings, required to be done with a running engine, they display excessively cautious efforts to avoid rotating parts.
Above - remnants of the  now shredded rag. Below - the rag wrapped around the power-take off shaft
PHOTOS OF THE INJURIES ARE TOO SEVERE TO SHARE
Despite society's inability to look away from the scene of an accident, we are not going to add photos of Heidi's hand right after the accident. Just take our word they are too graphic and unnecessary. What we will say is her fingers were broken, some severed, leaving an unrecognizable bloody appendage of her hand, with what was left of her fingers pointing in various directions. Fortunately she was close to medical support. Even then it took an extensive surgical effort.
LESSON LEARNED?
Searching back in our own memories of working on cars and the temptation of impatience, we recalled receiving a well heeded warning. It came a very long time ago, from a neighbor whose car we were repairing. "You like fixin' cars?", he asked. "Yes, we do" we replied. "Well, you can't do no fixin' from a hospital bed. Put those jack-stands under the car before you do anything else." 
As we went to get them, the car slid off the jack. The result is we are still troubled by what occurred, but we developed a never forgotten lesson regarding safety and the temptation of impatience. It remains to be seen what lessons Heidi has learned, but she will not be driving for some time and it's unlikely she will ever recover the dexterity needed to work on her beloved car.

HOW TO STAY SAFE IN THE GARAGE
 After a short search we found several articles about safety in the garage. Here's one from Popular Mechanics, also this video.


Please remember to place safety ahead of impatience in everything you do, especially you Heidi. And get well soon.

Until next time, Garagistry out.

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