After landing at Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport, Harvey noticed the aircraft tug, a small device used to pull the plane back into the hangar, was not working correctly, causing his plane to block the taxiway at the airport. Harvey says another aircraft was waiting to pass, and after walking over to
speak to that pilot, he walked away toward the front of that plane – right into the propeller.
“I walked through the edge of the plane’s propeller, which was spinning at a couple thousand RPMs,” Harvey said. “Propellers on airplanes are invisible from the back. I walked through it, and it opened up my arm from the top of my shoulder all the way down.”
The damage from the propeller happened in an instant. Harvey immediately called out to his wife. Never losing consciousness, Harvey told Amy to call 911. When the emergency response teams arrived, it was clear to them that Harvey needed to be airlifted to a trauma hospital immediately. Fortunately, the UF Health TraumaOne North medevac helicopter in Nassau County was minutes away, and the helicopter arrived on the scene shortly after.
The flight to UF Health Jacksonville took 12 minutes, and the trauma team sprang into action with multiple specialists working together to evaluate and stabilize Harvey.
“Every step of the way was so well choreographed,” Harvey said. “Most of the professionals I encountered were with me for only a few minutes, but they did their part and moved on.”
Adam Gitlin, MD, a University of Florida assistant professor and board-certified orthopaedic surgeon at UF Health Jacksonville, was called in to address Harvey’s significant orthopaedic injuries.
Marc Kaye, MD, a University of Florida assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery and a board-certified orthopaedic and hand surgeon, treated Harvey’s hand injuries.
“I hadn’t seen an injury like that in quite a while,” Gitlin said. “When Harvey came in, he had multiple fractures to his arm, soft tissue and tendon injuries, along with multiple lacerations. There was concern about the ultimate viability of his arm.”