By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — Emergency responders from Naugatuck and New Haven this week described how they worked together to help treat a borough woman who got her right hand and arm caught in a meat grinder at her home March 19.
Brenda Jooste, who runs her business Thames Goodies out her home, was injured at 3:45 p.m. on Spring Street.
Naugatuck Assistant Fire Chief Walter Seaman said three fire departments, two hospitals and Naugatuck EMS were involved in the response.
“It was a complex call all around,” he said.
He said Jooste was conscious and alert upon the arrival of first responders. After they removed part of the machinery, Naugatuck police applied a tourniquet, and Jooste was able to walk to an ambulance with the help of EMS and local firefighters.
Jooste then was taken to Waterbury Hospital, where emergency room staff and Waterbury firefighters awaited her arrival before she eventually was transported to Yale New Haven Hospital.
New Haven Assistant Fire Chief Justin McCarthy said his crews were called to be on standby if they were needed to assist in the removal of a portion of the meat grinder from Jooste’s hand and arm.
Jooste was taken to Yale because of its top trauma facility, McCarthy noted.
“It had to do with the capabilities of the doctors and what the hospital can do,” he said. “Waterbury Hospital doctors determined to move her to Yale.”
Waterbury Hospital staff reached out to New Haven Fire Department to give the five-man crew information about what happened so they could come up with a game plan, McCarthy said.
“Once she arrived at Yale, our crew met with the surgery team and were given the go-ahead to attempt to remove the meat grinder from the woman’s arm,” he said.
New Haven firefighters have a specialized tool to cut metal. It took firefighters approximately 45 minutes to remove the grinder from Jooste’s arm and then they turned her over to Yale’s doctors.
“The members in our rescue company are specially trained in victim removal from entrapment,” McCarthy said.
Information about Jooste’s recovery was not available Friday, but her neighbor, Daniel Johnson, has set up a GoFundMe account titled “Woman’s hand stuck in meat grinder (Naugatuck).” As of Friday evening, $165 had been raised toward the $7,000 goal.
Seaman and McCarthy were both grateful for the collaborative efforts of all the departments involved.
“It’s important that I note it was joint effort between the (Yale) hospital staff, Naugatuck Fire Department, Waterbury Fire Department, Naugatuck EMS and Waterbury Hospital,” McCarthy said.
Seaman added, “The positive collaboration between all agencies showed itself for the best possible outcome for this patient.”