WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. — The 9-year-old boy who lost his finger after falling at a Webster Groves elementary school has an appointment at BJC Children’s Hospital on Friday. He will learn whether his right hand will need to be amputated.
DJ Williams said he tripped on his backpack and caught himself on a metal cart inside his classroom at Bristol Elementary School earlier this week. He said when he fell, his right middle finger got stuck in the cart.
According to pictures and the family’s attorney, Tim Engelmeyer, a portion of DJ’s finger was still stuck in the metal cart. Engelmeyer said the Webster Groves School District had not gotten in contact with the family until Thursday. That’s when the school notified DJ’s mom, Talisa Pierce, that they still had the portion of DJ’s finger. So, she went and picked it up.
“An amputation is a little more on the rare side,” Dr. Melissa Puffenbarger – Pediatric ER, Mercy Children’s Hospital St. Louis said. “Fingertip injuries…are super common.”
She said if a child injures their finger, to first evaluate the bleeding.
“If you can very obviously see there is tissue missing, look around the immediate area to see if you can find that tissue,” she said.
Puffenbarger said if you are able to find the piece, rinse it off with a sterile solution, or warm water if you don’t have a sterile solution. She said this helps get any debris off.
“Then you’ll want to wrap that tissue in a moistened hopefully sterile gauze, or just a very clean moistened paper towel if you have it. Put it in a sealed Ziploc bag, and then you can put that Ziploc bag over ice,” she said. “Go to an emergency department as soon as possible, so we can assess the wound and get care, and maybe try to reattach the tissue within an hour or two.”
She said the longer the wait, the higher the chance for an infection.
The Webster Groves School District declined FOX 2’s request for an interview again Thursday and said the district’s attorney has advised them to only share their statement from Tuesday.
“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 statement reads. “The District is always concerned for and committed to the health and safety of its students and is currently investigating the accident in question. However, due to confidentiality obligations imposed by federal law (FERPA), Webster Groves School District is unable to disclose any information regarding the accident or the condition of the student and is, thus, unable to comment further on the matter at this time.”
According to the school district’s handbook, nursing staff can provide emergency first aid treatment.
“Nurses employed to staff the health services program shall serve under the direction of the superintendent or designee and, to the extent required by law, under the supervision of a physician or registered nurse, who may be offsite,” the handbook states.