Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Injured by a Spatula

So what happened to Gage? That is now everyone's first question when we walk into a room. Our little Goldenhar Syndrome boy has grown up to be quite handsome at age 17 now. He works hard, he does well in school, he loves to be outdoors working on his old mud Jeep Cherokee he is fixing up.

He works a full-time summer job which he started this week and will work all summer right up until he begins his SENIOR YEAR in high school! He has spent his high school years attending the county's Career Tech Center and plans to go right into his trade of choice (automotive or engine/transmission work) as soon as he graduates. But what happened to Gage?

Two weeks ago, on the last Monday of the 2017-2018 school year, about 4:45 that evening, we had company over. What was going to lead into an afternoon of grilling, swimming, working in the yard, kids enjoying the beginning of their summer vacation, ended in a tragic accident.

One of the guest picked up our grill spatula, a very heavy duty Coleman spatula and pretended to be a Hibachi grill master apparently, and the spatula head slung out of the handle due to a design flaw and sadly chopped poor Gage right in the face. Had it been two inches lower, he would no longer be with us!
The design of the spatula is to fit together and obviously not sling out as it has a meat chopping side with a serrated edge on one side and a smooth side for slicing. So even if you were using it while chopping meats or slicing veggies, this could certainly be dangerous as it obviously has the potential to slide out of the handle. That is why I want these removed from their product line. However, after three attempts to contact Coleman (I even sent pictures of my child in the hospital bed), they have not returned any emails that specifically said they would respond within two to three business days. It's been two weeks. So I guess they have decided they want me to get a lawyer and tell the real story and place it on social media. I'm really not the type to sue so this disturbs me that they want to sell this product so bad, they are putting everyone at risk!

Being our Goldenhar Syndrome child, we have already spent over $15,000.00 out of pocket over just the last three years getting his mouth functional and pretty just to be able to eat what he wants, and look comparable to his peers. From oral surgeons, orthodontists, to dentists, he's been through enough already. Now guess what? Coleman's faulty design has led him to undo almost all of that! His top teeth are okay but he has a broken mandible and at the break, he lost his bridge we had made for him and an additional tooth was knocked out and we have a loose one that is questionable. Watching them pull teeth out of your child's head has given me nightmares, I wish I could unsee that! In one of the pictures below you can see the smooth edge that hit his face and actually see the indention created by impact to his teeth. The poor guest that actually held the spatula was traumatized. He was ghost white and looked like he was going to pass out and claims he nearly had a panic attack on his drive home. It really was unfortunate and we do not in any way blame him. We were home, the darn spatula should not have come apart like that, just an unfortunate accident we do not want to happen to anyone else.

As a result of the accident, he will remain on a soft diet all summer to ensure the bone heals, if it doesn't he will have surgery. No meat, no chewing anything harder that a soft piece of bread or eggs or mashed potatoes...all summer long. This is hard for a guy who has trouble gaining weight as it is. He weighs about 110 soaking wet and he was already drinking ensure and other similar drinks to get more calories.

So two weeks later where are we now? He goes today to get a crown put back on one tooth, we wait on the jaw to completely heal and to make sure all swelling is gone. We will now have to purchase dentures (a partial) for his bottom so he can eat again. Oh and most likely will also be paid out of pocket like all his other dental work. That will also come at the cost of missing work and continue on into his Senior year where he will miss days out of school for appointments. Which also means I will have to miss work to accompany him. I'm not complaining about that but it is a fact, and a direct result of the faulty spatula incident. So far no infections but he may need a root canal at the very least on the tooth that is still loose. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, Coleman still has these products available online as you can see from the screenshot below.

If you would like to help get these off the shelves and perhaps save a child or any person or pet from suffering like Gage, feel free to call or email them. Maybe you can get a response but they sure are avoiding me. Gage is a fun loving, happy kid despite all that he has been through. After about 15 shots in his face that night and over 60 stitches, he was more worried about the guy who wanted to be hibachi grill master. He knew that it would forever be etched in his mind after such a massive cut and blood loss. Gage admits the ambulance ride was pretty cool though! We hope for a better update soon! He may wear a scar forever, but I told him at least there's a crazy story to go along with it!

**update on 6/6/18** Coleman has contacted me and since it involves an accident, it is being turned over to their legal dept.

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