February 22, 2019
Steve Pelegrin built a 20-year career as an engineer with AT&T and enjoys a good home improvement project. In February 2015, he was a newlywed, just several months into his marriage to his wife, Laurie. Working alone on a basement remodeling project, an accident occurred that put his ability to function, and his life, at risk.
Nearly finished cutting some small pieces of wood, Steve stood, turned and snagged his shirt in the blade guard of an electric saw. The saw caught and almost completely severed Steve's left arm.
Steve's survival training – he was once a U.S. Army Ranger – and ability to remain calm saved his life and preserved the potential to restore his limb. Steve used his right hand and his teeth to remove his belt and apply it as a tourniquet to stem the bleeding at his left forearm. He climbed the stairs from the basement and called 911. He put the couple's dogs in the backyard and went out to sit on the front curb and wait for help.
"Steve truly had the presence of mind to save his own life that day," says Laurie, who works as a surgical assistant at their local hospital in Ottawa, Kansas. "He could have bled out alone in the basement. His training and instinct to survive gave him a chance."
When the ambulance arrived, the emergency response team began asking questions to learn about Steve's injury and history.
"I remember telling them, I'll answer whatever you want on the way, but we better get going now,'" Steve says. "I can't say enough good things about the quality of care and the experience they provide. If we hadn't had access to this caliber of care, I would have had a very different result, for sure."