Accidents  Happen
by  Pat  Gurr
29  Jan  2006
 I spent 2½ years aboard the boat and can recall several injuries I received during this
time. Two injuries were received while I was in the engine room and the worse happened
to me in the crew’s mess.
 When I was a lowly MMFN, Hake, EN1 (SS), was teaching me how to remove fuel
injectors from an engine when my wrench slipped and I caught the back side of my hand
and wrist on the engine. The force ripped open the skin about 3 inches long and bruised
my wrist bone. Hurt like crazy and bled even worse. I wrapped a cloth around it and kept
working. I still got a scar.
 Another time we were in port, so after our noon chow I went to the FER and lay down on
top of a large tool box that had a padded top. I had been out late the night before plus now
my belly was full, so I immediately fell asleep. At 1300 hours I heard over the loudspeaker
the old “All Hands Turn To”. I sleeply got up, took one step and stepped into the lower flats
open deck hatch. I suddenly found myself wedged in the hatch opening, my back pressing
on one side and my shinbone pressing against the opposite side. My knee and thigh were
up against my chest. My shin was hurting and stinging and I was wedged in so tightly I
couldn’t immediately get myself out. Embarassed and in pain, I kept working to get
unwedged and hoping no one would see me in such a stupid position. It took me about a
minute to get out of the hatch, limp back to work and about a week for the skin to grow
back over my shinbone.
 My worse injury, which required the doc to render first aid, happened one night at sea.
After my watch I went into the crew’s mess looking for a snack and to shoot the bull with
several of the crew sitting there. I opened the cooler's thick deck hatch so I could climb
down and get some ice cream, an orange or whatever was there. The hinged hatch lid
should have been opened all the way and left on the deck, but because a bench seat was
in the way I just rested it against the seat at about a 45 degree angle. Down I go and then
from up above I hear guys shouting down to me to get them this or that. I was standing in
the cooler and had my right hand fingers hooked over the lip of the hatch opening so I
could lean over and reach the various items. The boat was rolling back and forth and
suddenly I heard “Look Out”. About that time I turned to see the hatch land on my middle
and ring fingers and bounce up. I jerked my hand to me and the hatch fell back against the
lip. Then the hatch opened and several guys were looking down at me and someone
asked if I was alright. I held my numb hand up to the light and saw both fingers were
busted open and blood was starting to run down my wrist. I climbed up the ladder using
only my left hand and thinking I was lucky I still had the tips of my fingers. Someone got
Doc Pfeiffer up and he took me back to the head to wash off the blood so he could check
out my injury. He stuck my hand under the water in the sink and told me to move my
fingers. The next thing I remember was waking up, sitting on the deck against the bulkhead
and Doc was splashing water in my face. Well my fingers weren’t broken and didn’t require
any stitches. Doc put big bandages on the two fingers and that got me out of having to
clean the purifiers for several days.

Note: Send me your accident stories to share on our Accident Page . . .