WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. — A 9-year-old boy had to get his finger amputated after falling inside Bristol Elementary School in Webster Groves Monday.
DJ Williams said he tripped over his backpack in the classroom and got caught in a metal computer cabinet, which snapped his finger in the door jam of the cabinet.
His mother, Talisa Pierce, said the school called her while she was at work and said DJ had a “gash” on his hand. They asked if she or his grandpa would be picking DJ up from school because of the cut on his hand.
Papa, as Larry Pierce’s six grandkids call him, picked DJ up from school and said his fingers were wrapped and his hand was bleeding.
“The nurse says, ‘Okay, he cut his hand. Didn’t say how bad it was, but says take him to urgent care,'” Larry said. “They unwrap it and immediately said, ‘Oh no. We can’t treat this. His finger is gone.”
Then, Larry said they drove to Missouri Baptist’s emergency room, where DJ’s mom met them. He said he was shocked to see part of his grandson’s bone sticking out of his middle finger.
“How do you send a child home with his finger cut off and just pass it on without calling 911 at the school?” Larry asked.
After X-rays, Talisa said the hospital couldn’t operate anymore because DJ’s finger needed to be amputated. So, they were transferred to Children’s Hospital by ambulance.
Talisa, a pediatric nurse herself, said she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
“I see injuries every day at work, and I can tolerate them. But to see my child, I couldn’t tolerate it,” Talisa said.
Talisa said DJ will need to see an orthopedic surgeon on Friday and will hear whether or not his entire hand will need to be amputated. The mom said she texted the school nurse to see if they found DJ’s finger because they were trying to save it for surgery. She said the nurse sent a picture of a portion of DJ’s finger still attached to the metal cart inside his classroom, but it couldn’t be saved for surgery.
DJ said after his finger was smashed into the metal cabinet, there was “blood everywhere.”
“I slipped on my backpack, and the computer cart thingy was open, and I used these three fingers to kind of pull myself,” he said. “My middle finger was on the edge of it, and then it cut it,” the 9-year-old said.
Talisa was concerned about the cabinet as it pertains to classroom safety.
“I don’t even see why that is even in a classroom,” Talisa said. “If it’s in a classroom, that needs to be closed at all times. I do feel it was negligence because, first protocol, I feel 911 should have been called.”
“He has a dream of playing basketball, that is his dream, he wants to be a basketball player when he grows up, that’s all he talks about it,” she added.
DJ isn’t letting go of his strength.
“I just got to think about basketball. If I think about it enough, then I won’t give up,” DJ said.
The school district released a statement Tuesday, saying: “Webster Groves School District is aware of reports of an accident, a fall, that occurred at Bristol Elementary School on Monday, April 18, 2022, that may have resulted in injury to a student requiring medical attention. The District is always concerned for and committed to the health and safety of its students and is currently investigating the accident in question.”
The district’s statement also said due to FERPA laws, the district could not disclose any more information about the incident or the student’s condition and said it could not “comment further on the matter at this time.”