A father in Idaho had a close brush with death after he was impaled by a 40lb hay bale spear that almost hit his spinal cord.
Justin Firth, 43, had been working on a fence at Southern Idaho Commodities in Jerome, Idaho, on June 27.
All of a sudden, a hay bale spear - called a tine - detached from a loader and pierced the father through his back and out of his stomach.
He was pierced by a 40lb hay bale spear - also known as a tine - that went in through his back and came out his stomach
Justin Firth, 43, had been working on a fence at Southern Idaho Commodities in Jerome, Idaho, when he was pierced on June 24
'I felt something hit me, and I went to the ground,' Justin Firth said to East Idaho News. 'I looked up to find out what happened and I (saw) that belt tine sticking through me and into the ground. I was pretty scared. It's pretty mind-boggling.'
Unable to move, Firth stated that he didn't feel any pain from being impaled.
'I never saw any blood come out of the front, and I could feel a little moisture on my back,' Firth added. 'I never got a heat sensation like it was bleeding profusely or anything.'
Coworkers called 911 and alerted his wife, Anny.
Anny had actually been making her way to meet her husband, and had their 14-year-old son with them.
'The officer stopped me at the driveway and said that Justin had requested me not to see him like that,' Anny stated.
The 40-pound spear was still attached to the loader machine when it went through Firth's body. Firth's coworkers had to use a blow torch to get it off
'The officer is my neighbor and I said, "How bad is it? Shoot straight with me." He said it was pretty bad and told me to have faith and pray. So we prayed. Lots of prayers.'
The tine spear was still attached to the machine when it pierced Firth. His colleagues rushed to use a heat torch so that they could cut it from the loader.
Firth was then flown to Portneuf hospital, where a team of surgeons quickly went to his aid.
The 40-pound spear was still attached to the machine when it went through Firth's body.
'A lot of the time was spent very, very carefully positioning him in the operating room because the object was still left in place,' Dr. Terrence Rager explained.
Rager, along with Dr. Jacob Delarosa and Dr. Jorge De Amorim Filho, spent close to four hours to remove the spear and repair internal injuries that Firth had suffered.
Anny Firth had actually been making her way to meet her husband, and had their 14-year-old son with them
Firth could have died, had the spear moved just a few millimeters to either side.
'The object missed his spinal cord, his aorta and it missed the tube connecting his kidney to his bladder by a few centimeters,' Dr. Rager added. 'One of the most important things to learn when dealing with the pre-hospital and early hospital care of impalement injury is not to remove the object.'
Doctors spent close to four hours to remove the spear and repair internal injuries that Firth had suffered
Firth's colon was damaged but fixed, and his long term prognosis was reported as being good.
He is expected to return home at some point, this week.
The incident is currently under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Firth and his wife plan on keeping the spear as a daily remainder that life is short but must be lived.
The Firths' plan to keep the spear as a daily reminder that Firth's time on earth isn't quite finished yet.
'I want to say a big thank you to the doctors and everyone who helped saved me,' Firth said.
'This could have killed me instantly if it would have hit just a little bit one way or another. It could have crushed my skull or paralyzed me.'
Firth is wheeled out after his operation as a nurse carries the spear behind him
The Firths' plan to keep the spear as a daily reminder that Firth's time on earth isn't quite finished yet