Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Town helps with medical bills after student loses fingers in shop accident


March 1, 2018

A Haines High School student who cut off three fingers in a shop class accident last week will likely regain the use of two of her fingers after a seven-hour surgery, said her mother Brenda Smith.

Junior Skyler Smith was in woodshop class around 10 a.m. Friday morning working on a project at the table saw, her mother said. Skyler was running plywood through the saw with a push board when the saw hit a knot. The wood shot back, but her hand continued into the blade.

“We got a call to get down to the school because Skyler had an accident in woodshop,” Smith said. “We were there in less than 5 minutes and the ambulance had already gotten there.”

Smith said Skyler’s middle finger was completely severed at the middle knuckle, and her ring and index fingers were attached by only muscles and skin.

“This girl stayed calm through the whole thing,” Smith said. “She’s been a trooper. She’s very strong.”

Smith said Skyler was taken to the SEARHC clinic, medevaced to Juneau and then Seattle.

Smith said her daughter was in surgery for more than seven hours at Seattle Children’s Hospital Friday night. Surgeons successfully reattached her fingers. Doctors fused her middle finger back together so it will not be able to bend, but the other two fingers have blood flow and should heal within a year, Smith said.

Smith said Skyler was released from the hospital Wednesday, but needs to come back to Seattle twice in the next eight weeks for follow-up appointments.

Family friend Rhonda Hinson began a GoFundMe campaign to cover costs of return trips to Seattle. The campaign raised over $4,000 by Tuesday afternoon.

“Skyler is a hardworking young lady that works two jobs during the summer and is a dedicated student as well as a leader in her school,” Hinson wrote on the fundraising page. “She is friendly, caring and generous - a delight to be around.”

Smith said her daughter has not missed a day of school in her entire high school career. She is in the honor society, student council and is heading up efforts to put together the school yearbook this year.

Smith said she is thankful to Hinson for setting up the fundraising campaign, and is also thankful for the staff at SEARHC and the ambulance crew for their quick response and for handling her daughter calmly and kindly.

“I’m impressed and thankful. God bless them,” Smith said.

Superintendent Rich Carlson was out of town and could not be reached for comment this week. Other staff declined to comment.


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017