My parents are retired and living their dream life on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. They built their dream home which includes a boat dock/lift.
My dad has been having difficulty navigating his boat into the lift because of the hurricanes that have happened over the last year or so, which had brought in lots of sand that interfered with the motor while maneuvering the boat in.
Dad has a power washer. He was using it last Thursday to clean off his dock and a very bad light bulb went off in his head. He came up with the idea to hop in the water (about chest deep), with the base of the power washer on the dock and the nozzle in his hand...he would blow the sand away from the dock. He went into the house, put on his bathing suit and a pair of tennis shoes without socks then headed back to the dock.
After working for quite awhile, he lost his balance (not falling completely, just a slip that he corrected and remained standing)...in the midst of correcting his balance, he swished the flow of the power washer over the top of his shoe. He said he instantly felt nauseous but decided to continue his work and finish his job of removing the sand from his dock area.
By the time he got back to the house, the pain was horrible....he took of his shoe and found his foot had swollen more than half its size. It was bleeding from a cut on his second toe close to the base of the toe. My mother had him wash out the wound, soak his foot in Epsom's salt and then used mecuricom (I know I'm spelling that wrong...when I was a kid, we called it "monkey blood").
To make a long story a little shorter, my dad refused my mom's request to go to the hospital, choosing to wait until the following morning to go to the Dr. The Dr. against his better judgement, allowed my dad to stay home through the weekend if he promised to stay off his feet with his foot propped up. He had an appointment to go back to the dr. on Monday afternoon. He was given shots of antibiotics, etc. On Monday, after seeing the dr. again, it was decided he should go to the hospital to see a specialist...this didn't happen until the next morning. Because of the delay, there was horrible infection as the power washer had pushed in alot of sand and yuck from the dirty, murky water by the dock.
We've been sick as it looked as if my dad would have to have part of his foot amputated. (My dad is totally passionate about golf, which he has recently began playing again, looking forward to July when my husband and all our kids will be flying down for a visit...my husband is an avid golfer.
The main reason I'm even posting about this is because I believe that most people dont realize how dangerous power washers can be. Before my dad's accident, his neighbor had been washing off his deck while barefoot....accidentally washing over his bare toes breaking the bones of three of them.
Just last week my husband was pressure washing our driveway and my 13 yr. old daughter asked if she could do it saying that her dad had let her at his house...Kem said no, that he didn't think it was safe....but we really had no idea.
The specialist working with my dad said that he's seen so many pressure washer accidents and that the parts of the body that come in contact with the spray are basically pulverized leaving all tissue, muscle, etc., mush. He said that my dad's foot (the three toes in the middle), since the accident, consist primarily of bone, skin and some veins. ugghh...
Please be careful if you or anyone in your family use a pressure washer. They can be very dangerous.