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#1 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yesterday, we got a letter from school that a kindergarten student had been in an accident on school grounds. Her finger was caught in an exterior door. There was no word in the letter on the extent of her injuries; I had to e-mail an "in the know" mom to find out. I was hoping that it was something relatively minor: she had lost her fingernail or had broken her finger. No. Her fingertip was severed. I can't even imagine how much pain she went/is going through.

According to the "in the know" mom, the child was at home by 3:00 (the accident happened just after noon), and feeling well enough to talk to her teacher. This mom also reports that the doctor said that no reattachment was necessary, that it will "grow over" and "be ok in time." (How is that possible? We are talking about a human being, not a starfish!)

I am not blaming the school. I know that accidents can happen anywhere, even with the best supervision and to the best parents. I am just disturbed by the fact that the school's spring carnival is going on as planned, this evening.

It just seems wrong to me to be having a school-wide celebration when one of the children has just suffered a disfiguring injury and her family is going through a nightmare. The last thing I feel like doing is being happy and peppy and acting as if nothing has happened. Skipping the carnival isn't an option; I've already committed to taking my two dds and one of their friends.

Any thoughts?
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#2 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 12:33 PM
 
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Donning flame-proof suit . . .

To me it seems a little extreme to cancel the school carnival over this type of incident. I'm not trying to minimize the poor kid's pain, but words like "disfiguring" and "nightmare" don't seem appropriate given that we're talking about the tip of a finger. It's not like she's never going to walk again, or she had to be hospitalized, or she's lost the use of an arm something. She might even feel well enough to go to the carnival herself.

I don't mean to sound unfeeling, but that the entire school should go into mourning over this doesn't seem like an appropriate response.

Wife to a wonderful dh and mom to four beautiful kiddos, dd (3/04):, ds1 (1/06), ds2 (10/08), and ds3 (7/10)
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#3 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd was in kindergarten last year, and all I can think is, "But for the grace of God go we..." (I'm not a religious person, but you get my drift.) What kind of nightmare is it to send your child off to school and have less than a whole child come home? No, it's not life-threatening, but it's life-changing, and pretty horrific, if you ask me. And I think "disfiguring" is an appropriate word: her finger will never look the same.

I just wish it would rain buckets so the carnival would be postponed and I wouldn't have to put on my happy face, at least not tonight. Even though I don't blame the school for the accident, I'm just not feeling any kind of love for it right now. It doesn't seem like a happy place anymore.

The rational part of me sees your POV, that it would be a overreaction for the carnival to be cancelled, but my emotions tell me it's ALL WRONG. I guess it's a good thing I don't run the school or the PTO.
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#4 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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I give a for the school for letting parents know of the situation. They would not be able to disclose the extent of the injury even if they wanted to (I would think that would be a HIPPA violation).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ledzepplon
To me it seems a little extreme to cancel the school carnival over this type of incident. I'm not trying to minimize the poor kid's pain, but words like "disfiguring" and "nightmare" don't seem appropriate given that we're talking about the tip of a finger. It's not like she's never going to walk again, or she had to be hospitalized, or she's lost the use of an arm something. She might even feel well enough to go to the carnival herself.

I don't mean to sound unfeeling, but that the entire school should go into mourning over this doesn't seem like an appropriate response.
:


It think it would be up to each individual if they choose to go to the carnival or not. I hate it to say it, but unless you have personally talked to the mother you're basically going on 2nd hand information. If the little girl was home by 3pm, whose to say she won't show up at the carnival if for nothing else just to be there.
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#5 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, even the "home by 3:00" part was secondhand information, though the source is pretty reliable.

I realized that there probably was a legal problem in giving the parents more information, but it was really hard not to know how this child was doing. My kids (1st and 4th grade) had heard some rumors, but I just didn't know what to believe. Also, the letter said the kids might be wondering about the extent of the injuries. How was I supposed to dispel the rumor mill if I didn't have the information myself? Again, I understand why they couldn't disclose it, but it was still hard to deal with.

Maybe part of the reason I'm having such a hard time with this is that none of my kids has ever suffered a serious injury (we have never been to the ER), and they scream like crazy when they get as much as a paper cut. I just can't process what this kid (and her parents) went through.

I'm also hypersensitive by nature, so I'm going to have a stronger reaction to something like this than some people. (In the media forum, people post about seeing movies that I could never watch.) On threads where we talk about hypersensitivity, we advise each other not to watch the news and not to look at certain web sites. In this case, I couldn't just choose not to hear.

Thanks for reading and posting back. I really needed to talk about this.
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#6 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:06 PM
 
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Honestly and gently, I think your reaction is way over the top. Kids get hurt, bad things happen all the time. The world can't stop for that. They can take time to care and help when necessary, but one kid got hurt in a freak accident, it's ok. I wouldn't even think to cancel an event planned for 400 kids, just because one got hurt. Yes, it sounds like a pretty serious injury but she's fine and home. Even if she were still in the hospital, the carnival is most likely a fundraiser and very necessary to the school. I know ours are.
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#7 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post
Honestly and gently, I think your reaction is way over the top. Kids get hurt, bad things happen all the time. The world can't stop for that. They can take time to care and help when necessary, but one kid got hurt in a freak accident, it's ok. I wouldn't even think to cancel an event planned for 400 kids, just because one got hurt. Yes, it sounds like a pretty serious injury but she's fine and home. Even if she were still in the hospital, the carnival is most likely a fundraiser and very necessary to the school. I know ours are.
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-Angela
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#8 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ledzepplon View Post
To me it seems a little extreme to cancel the school carnival over this type of incident. I'm not trying to minimize the poor kid's pain, but words like "disfiguring" and "nightmare" don't seem appropriate given that we're talking about the tip of a finger. It's not like she's never going to walk again, or she had to be hospitalized, or she's lost the use of an arm something. She might even feel well enough to go to the carnival herself.
yeah, and if they were to cancel it the whole school would hate that child, instead of feeling sympathy for her.

nothing more to say I guess :
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#9 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verity View Post

I'm also hypersensitive by nature, so I'm going to have a stronger reaction to something like this than some people.
It's so hard to see little ones get hurt, and I hope my response didn't come off as too harsh. I call both of my kids "danger mouse," and we've already had broken arms, bloody noses and lips, and all kinds of bad scrapes and bumps and bruises. So perhaps I'm a little less sensitive than some.

You sound like a very warm and caring person, and I bet the world would be better off with more people like you.

Wife to a wonderful dh and mom to four beautiful kiddos, dd (3/04):, ds1 (1/06), ds2 (10/08), and ds3 (7/10)
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#10 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good point, Calidris. The kiids (including my own) and most adults aren't reacting the way I have. And yea, it is a fundraiser for the school. (Again, though, part of me is saying, "It's not always about money!")

I know all of you are being reasonable and rational, but I realize now that the people who would have been most sympathetic to my POV aren't reading this thread because of the warning in the title.

I'll get through it, but it's going to be a long evening.
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#11 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ledzepplon View Post
You sound like a very warm and caring person, and I bet the world would be better off with more people like you.
Thank you.

Ah, now I'm crying again.

This absolutely confirms for me, though, that I could never work in a school. I've toyed with the idea, but I think it would just be too hard on me to see kids going through rough times.
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#12 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:20 PM
 
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I have to agree... props to the school for letting you know what happened, to the extent possible. And if her finger wasn't broken and "reattachment wasn't necessary", my guess is that this isn't the disfiguring injury you might imagine when you first hear "severed fingertip." There isn't a lot of padding at the end of your fingers, so not much could have really been lost. That's not to say it didn't hurt like crazy, but kids are so resilient and frequently react very differently from what we might expect. (Like you mentioned, screaming over a papercut but banging their head on something pretty hard and barely noticing)

Hopefully some TLC and maybe a night at the carnival will help her feel much better.

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#13 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:25 PM
 
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I fall into the "not surprised the carnival is going on as planned" camp. Unless this is a school of maybe 25 students, one non life threatening accident should be cause to cancel or postpone a school event like that.

Just my 2 cents.
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#14 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:47 PM
 
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Also, maybe the injured little girl would like to go to the carnival for a little distraction...

-Angela
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#15 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm worried that "reattachment wasn't necessary" because no one in this neck of the woods has that kind of skill/expertise. We don't live close to any highly-regarded hospitals. Still, I am hoping to find out that the injury wasn't as bad as I fear.

Thanks again for all of your posts. I'm still upset, and I'm going have to leave it to the other moms to be happy and peppy, but I'm starting to put things into perspective.
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#16 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verity View Post
It just seems wrong to me to be having a school-wide celebration when one of the children has just suffered a disfiguring injury and her family is going through a nightmare.
bolding mine.

Also, perhaps this is not really the healthiest way to approach this. Perhaps the girl and her family don't have these views. Perhaps they don't see this as "disfiguring" and if it was my child and we were trying to move past it, I would be bothered by people harping on it and calling it disfiguring and a nightmare.

Yes. We all hate for children to get hurt. But it happens. And life goes on. And if this family is of the "life goes on" mindset right now, your point of view (though I understand genuine and from the kindest place in the world) could actually be quite disturbing.

Just another point of view.

-Angela
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#17 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:54 PM
 
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You know, if you consider how far up the finger the bone goes, if the bone wasn't cut, perhaps fingertip really means just the very tip of the finger. Being just flesh, it might grow back.

nothing more to say I guess :
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#18 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 01:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verity View Post
I'm worried that "reattachment wasn't necessary" because no one in this neck of the woods has that kind of skill/expertise. We don't live close to any highly-regarded hospitals. Still, I am hoping to find out that the injury wasn't as bad as I fear.

Thanks again for all of your posts. I'm still upset, and I'm going have to leave it to the other moms to be happy and peppy, but I'm starting to put things into perspective.
Actually, for end of finger issues that is pretty typical (and I live in the middle of a medical mecca)

I had a close friend in high school who had a similar finger injury as a child- though his was caused by a heavy cement pole falling, rather than a door. His DID grow back. It always looked a touch different, but it was a fully functional fingertip.

I also know of a recent injury to a toe with the same type of outcome.

-Angela
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#19 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 02:00 PM
 
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I look at this from two directions. First, I was on the governing board, and close friends with the director, of our child care center when a little girl got her finger caught in a door (on the hinge side). Her finger was severed, and was reattached.

If we had had a fundraiser scheduled for that night, it would have gone on as planned - but one little girl would not have been there (her accident was late in the day).

As a parent, I have made numerous trips to the ER - stitches and bad sprains; luckily no broken bones (yet). Every single time, my reaction is to thank God that I have healthy, active children than can run around and fall down. I want my kids to run, jump, ski, snowboard, swim, and take reasonable risks - and sometimes that means getting hurt.

If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

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#20 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 02:03 PM
 
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FWIW, and I hope it helps....

I cut off the end of my finger (top half of the nail and index finger) when I was twenty. Fast food kitchen, veggie prep.....you get the idea.

It did grow back. It was pretty amazing. To look at me now you would never know (there is a tiny difference).

I do think this issues is mostly about (gently) you and your worries.

I would not fake a happy face. Go to the carnival and if your kids ask why you are glum - let them know it is because you are a little worried and sad for the girl that lost her finger. Let them see your empathy, but do not burden them with it or let it destroy their good time, kwim?



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#21 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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alegna, you make a very good point. A small, small part of me was thinking that the school might be doing this girl and her family a favor by showing them that life goes on.

It's also good to hear that the part about "growing over" may well come true, and isn't just the school's planted CYA line.
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#22 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Kathy, I'm so glad to hear that! I really didn't think the human body could do that. I had been hoping to get some factual information about the capabilities of the human body. I honestly thought that in all cases, once a part of a body is gone, it's gone.

I am also glad that the information I have heard, that the fingertip might actually grow back, is true, and not just the school's planted CYA line.
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#23 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry about the double post. My computer is acting crazy today.
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#24 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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As someone who volunteers a good bit... a lot of planning goes into anything at school and this carnival has been on the calender for months, I'd bet. I think your reaction is unusual.
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#25 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 02:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verity View Post
I'm worried that "reattachment wasn't necessary" because no one in this neck of the woods has that kind of skill/expertise. We don't live close to any highly-regarded hospitals. Still, I am hoping to find out that the injury wasn't as bad as I fear.
I know others have said it, but it is true that the finger tip will regrow, more or less. It will not always look exactly the same as it did before, but there can be a surprising amount of regrowth of soft tissue there, especially in a child. If you think about getting a bad arm scrape and losing a fair amount of skin and tissue there, you could have quite a dent while it's injured, but it pretty much recovers. It's the same with a finger tip.
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#26 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 02:29 PM
 
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Also... If students ARE scared and worried about their classmate (I know I would have been as a kid), I think that canceling such a big event might just scare them even more, KWIM?

Me+DH+DS1+DS2+Dog=me and a house full of guys, which is really just peachy, thanks.
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#27 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 03:02 PM
 
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Just like to throw in that it is really nice that you are sensitive to the feelings of the little girl and her family. But also a word of caution. My cousins son severed the tip of his finger when he was younger. They did not make an attempt to re-attach it for the same reasons stated here. Initially, he didn't want anyone to look at it, ask about it. He didn't want to be "different". With time, it became no big deal.

Be careful what words you use when speaking to and about the little girl. It's a big deal to have it happen to you, but I think would cause more damage to have it be made a big deal of, kwim? When you think about it, any of us could be in an accident or have something unforeseen happen, that would leave a "mark" in many ways, and none of us want to be known as "different" or "disfigured.
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#28 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I felt comfortable sharing my feelings here, but don't worry--I won't mention anything about it tonight, and probably not at all to anyone IRL. I definitely won't mention it to my dh, though he may find out anyway, even though he has no plans to attend tonight's carnival. Having a child's finger caught in a door or other heavy object is one of his worst fears as a parent.

One of the girls in my younger dd's classroom is missing a part of a finger. I have no idea if she was born that way, or if it's because of an accident. I've never asked, and I never will.

I appreciate all the different POV about how the girl and her family might be feeling right now.
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#29 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 03:34 PM
 
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I agree with pp's, kids get hurt, life goes on. When I was in school a kid i knew had his fingertip severed on the jungle gym, they were able to reattach it, but life went on that day, we continued to play on the playground once they took him and the fingertip away, and we went on with our planned school bussiness.

The world can't stop because one child gets hurt even if its a horrific accident.
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#30 of 37 Old 04-25-2008, 03:41 PM
 
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Often times, for children, when something distressing happens in their life, they have a strong need to experience famiar and expected routines. It helps establish a sense of security...a sort of sense that the world is OK because what I know is still here. I would guess that for all of the children, the school fair was much anticipated, and continuing with it served to help create normalcy and possibly contain some anxiety that any of the kids may have felt, esp. younger ones. Just guessing.
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