All the stories I share are about people I knew and are true. However, I did change the names to protect the innocent, the guilty, and myself.
Bill York: I met Bill after he had fallen three stories from a scaffold. The reason he didn’t die right away was because he bounced off a ledge half way down. Bill worked as a mason and did not have any fall protection. The scaffold lacked railing to prevent his fall. The sad part is that there wasn’t a witness to the fall, and Bill could never remember any of it. He had a concussion and many broken bones.
When I met him, I regularly drove him to his therapy appointments. He had terrible short-term memory and often repeated the same story to me several times while on the way to his appointments. He lived in excruciating pain.
A short time after taking him to his appointments, it was discovered that he had a rare condition. Once his bones healed, they continued to grow. The excessive bone growth caused him extraordinary pain. Eventually, he was taken back to surgery to scrape off the excess bone. They ended up removing a five-gallon bucket worth of bone!
The problem was that every time the bones were scraped, they would over grow again. In the time I worked with him, he underwent that surgery several times. Each time the hope was that the bones would stop the excessive growth.
In time, his body finally gave out. Bill passed away. Bill was a very funny guy who loved Orange Fanta. In fact, when I sensed he might be in a particularly bad mood, I would have an Orange Fanta waiting for him as he entered the car. It was amazing how happy he would get!
As much as I love the interpreting and transporting business, having gotten to know Bill inspired me to pursue safety. I am so tired of seeing good people like Bill die when it was so totally preventable. It is time to learn lessons from the past and prevent injury in the future!
Most people that I know working on a scaffold cut corners due to money or time pressures. They might get away with it for years until they don’t. Bill was in his 40s when he had his accident and often cut corners.