A child’s finger was severed at Lake Middle School in Millbury, Ohio. Although the injury was clearly accidental, Nikolas Horner’s parents are outraged — as the 11-year-old boy waited in the principal’s office for more than 40 minutes. In addition to the severing his finger, the fifth-grader reportedly suffered a concussion.
In an interview with 13 ABC, Nikolas said he was entering the school gym when his finger became wedged in a partially closed door. As he did not realize the boy’s finger was in the door, a physical education teacher attempted to push it shut. The fifth-grader describes what happened next.
“The door would not shut so he pushed it hard and he didn’t know and I was screaming and I looked at it and I passed out… It was blood everywhere.”
Although he initially lost consciousness, Nikolas said he woke up in the physical education teacher’s arms. After being carried to the principal’s office, the boy said he waited “40 to 45 minutes” before his mother arrived to take him to the hospital.
Sarah Horner said she was contacted by a member of the school’s office staff, who said her son had “a pretty large gash on his finger.” Although the caller said Nikolas would likely need medical attention, Sarah did not know the child’s finger was severed until she arrived to pick him up.
Although doctors successfully reattached the severed portion of Nikolas’ finger, he will require cosmetic surgery. It is also unclear whether the child will regain full use of the finger.
Doctors also confirmed the boy suffered a concussion when he lost consciousness and hit his head.
In Sarah’s opinion, the school should have called an ambulance immediately. However, school administrators contend they “followed appropriate and proper procedures.”
Lake Middle School officials confirmed two staff members, who are a licensed EMT and an athletic trainer, provided emergency treatment at the scene and waited with the child until his mother arrived. However, Sarah said it simply was not enough.
— WBTV News (@WBTV_News) February 10, 2016
Most school districts, including Lake Local Schools, require parents to fill out an Emergency Medical Authorization form at the beginning of each school year. The form includes two sections, which outline how school officials should respond to a medical emergency.
The Lake Local Schools’ form gives parents the option of granting or refusing consent to treat their child at the scene and/or “transfer the child to the designated hospital or any hospital reasonably accessible.”
It is unclear whether Sarah Horner completed Lake Local Schools’ Emergency Medical Authorization form, or which option she chose. However, administrators insist “personnel followed appropriate and proper procedures” when the child’s finger was severed.
Sarah disagrees. In her opinion, the school should have called 911 immediately and gotten her son to the hospital as soon as possible. Instead, they wasted time trying to contact her and waiting for her to arrive.
Although she has not discussed plans to file a lawsuit, Sarah said she will be removing her son from the Lake school district.
Student’s finger tip severed at school. Mom says son bled for 40 min. School said handled properly. Report at 6 & 11 pic.twitter.com/BrarPyVDiM
— WTVG 13abc (@13abc) February 9, 2016
It is unclear whether the Lake district has a specific protocol for non-life-threatening injuries. However, other schools have faced similar controversy for their response to children’s medical issues and injuries.
In September, 2015, a 7-year-old student suffered an epileptic seizure at Peterson Elementary School in Houston, Texas. Instead of calling 911, school officials contacted the boy’s mother to pick him up.
Brandy Tarver said her son was unresponsive by the time she arrived at the school.
ABC 13 reports Seth Tarver survived the incident without any further medical problems. However, Brandy was outraged that school officials called her instead of calling 911.
School administrators contend Peterson Elementary school staff followed protocol. However, they admitted the school nurse was not available on the day in question.
It is unknown whether a school nurse was available at Lake Middle School when the child’s finger was severed, or whether it would have made any difference in the school’s decision to call the parent instead of calling 911.
[Image via Eugene Partyzan/Shutterstock]