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View Full Version : Horrifyingly tragic news story about a long-haired Yale student



GRU
April 17th, 2011, 09:11 PM
I debated sharing this here, because it really is horrifying to think about. But in the end, I decided to post it because I care about you folks, and I could never forgive myself if something happened to one of you that could have been prevented by my posting these articles.

Please, everyone, be mindful of your hair's length and location around ANY type of machinery / gears / doors / whatever that could trap your hair.

Feds: Dead Yale Student's Hair Pulled Into Lab Machine (http://www.thebostonchannel.com/r/27529780/detail.html)


Yale student killed when lab machine snags hair (http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/13/2165065/yale-student-dies-in-chemistry.html)

MeganE
April 17th, 2011, 09:16 PM
Just a couple of weeks ago I was thinking about the potential dangers of having long hair. I wondered how common accidents like this can be? It doesn't say how long her hair was, just that it was past shoulder length.

How sad. :( And people have said some really amazing things about her. It is horrible.

TrudieCat
April 17th, 2011, 09:17 PM
This is incredibly tragic. But I am very glad you posted this, because it demonstrates why safety precautions around machinery can be so critical. A student in my college lost part of a hand in a machine accident because he was wearing something that he was not supposed to be wearing while using the machine and it got caught.

Just awful. What a sad story. This didn't have to happen. It shouldn't have happened. :(

ArienEllariel
April 17th, 2011, 09:18 PM
That is seriously one of my worst fears. I remember reading a story were some girl was scalped by a machine once. shudder:

NotInPortland
April 17th, 2011, 09:31 PM
Wow, that is so incredibly sad, and what an awful way to go.

Ella Menneau P.
April 17th, 2011, 09:34 PM
I do woodworking as a hobby, and I ALWAYS have my hair braided and bunned so it's way out of the way when I'm using my powertools. So sad, for this girl.:(

Jenn of Pence
April 17th, 2011, 09:35 PM
DH sent me a link to this story last week...so horrible. :( I really hate using the machine shop, but whenever I have to, I make sure to put my hair up. You also have to be careful about clothes...long sleeves or loose/baggy items, etc. Yuck. I mean, I like power tools and stuff, but I am so not good at using them, so they scare me. Of course, I'd say that if you aren't a little bit scared of them, you shouldn't be using them!!!

Plus, let me add that the incident happened very late at night. It's just not advisable to do anything like that so late when you might be tired. :(

rogue_psyche
April 17th, 2011, 09:38 PM
That's so sad. My thoughts are with her family.

I agree: LHCers, be careful!

growingpains
April 17th, 2011, 10:00 PM
Extremely tragic. My thoughts go out to her family.

Nae
April 17th, 2011, 10:37 PM
Oh, that is awful. A very similar accident happened to the mother of one of my girlhood friends when we were in 1st or 2nd grade. I will never forget it.

christine1989
April 17th, 2011, 10:47 PM
That is a horrible way to die and the article says her hair was "below her shoulders" too! Just goes to show that even if hair isn't super long it can still be a hazard. Something like this happened to my uncle's brother a few months ago. He called his friend to help him chip blocks of wood in his backyard. His friend was running late so he decided to start without him. When using the wood chipper his sleeve got caught in the machine and he got pulled right into it. When his friend arrived 10 min later it was too late :(. Just think, the whole incident could have been avoided of he had waited 10 minutes!

Everyone operating machinery out there, tie your hair back and never do it alone!

racrane
April 17th, 2011, 11:23 PM
I remember reading a story about a girl's hair getting caught in the hot tub suctions and was pulled in and drowned from it. Scary! We all need to take precautions in this day and age.

MeganE
April 17th, 2011, 11:29 PM
I remember reading a story about a girl's hair getting caught in the hot tub suctions and was pulled in and drowned from it. Scary! We all need to take precautions in this day and age.


Ack! That scares me. I don't know if I would have thought to keep my hair up in a hot tub! I can see I'm going to have to do some serious thought-training about all the possible things that could grab your hair... After reading these posts, I'm tempted to keep emergency scissors on hand at all times!!

Sidani
April 17th, 2011, 11:39 PM
Thank you for posting this, I'm rather careless with my hair and wear it down often. This will, hopefully, make me a little more self aware.

monsterna
April 17th, 2011, 11:41 PM
Yeah, I read about this on Wednesday and didn't know whether or not to post it here. Sad. To think a little hair tie could have saved her.

adiapalic
April 17th, 2011, 11:50 PM
That's a shame and tragedy. She was just about to graduate.

Please take care people. I always make an effort to take the time to put my hair in a nice snug bun when I'm working around machinery in my horticulture classes, or even here at home.

I worked around printmaking presses in the art building when I was studying studio art. I would constantly remind myself to get my hair up and out of the way when I was pulling prints... I would cringe imagining what could happen.

Please put your hair up when doing these types of activities!

:(

tanya222
April 17th, 2011, 11:56 PM
I hope in a way my mother doesn't hear about this on the news ~ I've been talking to her about buying a lathe recently as I love woodworking, but if she hears this she'll flip out about my using one. Even though I know I'd be superstrict with myself about keeping my hair severely up & back if I do. I have quite a healthy respect for machinery. Recently I've seen a video on Youtube and there's a girl with long MB-length hair using a lathe and it's not up at all!

Truly tragic, this shouldn't have happened. My thoughts are with her family.

Fingolphin
April 18th, 2011, 12:03 AM
That is very awful and sad news. When I worked in a big box hardware store, I always kept my hair in a bun, not only for convenience, but also because of all the machinery around. Care needs to be exercised around that stuff!

McFearless
April 18th, 2011, 12:20 AM
I can't click the link. I'm scared. It sounds like something out of Saw.

MeganE
April 18th, 2011, 12:40 AM
It's a news story, no pictures. And not really any details, thankfully. Just says it got caught while she was working alone, and students found her later. So sad, and yes sounds like a horror movie. :( I can't imagine how awful it would be to die that way.

alyanna
April 18th, 2011, 12:43 AM
That's horrific. It is a bit of a wake up call! Please be careful everyone, not just around machines, but the stove too and any open flames!

Mesmerise
April 18th, 2011, 12:45 AM
This IS an awful story, and I've heard similar stories of people being scalped etc. because their hair got caught in machinery.

But please remember that accidents can happen in SOO many ways! Whether it's hair, or another body part, or an article of clothing, or just not paying attention to something for a fraction of a second or whatever!! I don't think long hairs need to worry more than anyone else, we just need to be cautious and always aware of our hair AS WELL as anything else which could be potentially hazardous.

Fufu
April 18th, 2011, 01:28 AM
This is really terrible... sigh..

Dragon
April 18th, 2011, 01:34 AM
That is a terrible story. When I was 12, I was using a sander and my teacher warned me to be careful as my SL hair was getting to close. So it’s not just long hair you have to be careful of.

silkheart
April 18th, 2011, 02:46 AM
Oh my gosh...that's so scary! Sometimes I forget the length of my hair, but now I'll be sure to tie it up when around dangers. And never operate equipment alone. What happened is just so scary, and scarier because it can happen to anybody.

GRU
April 18th, 2011, 10:14 AM
Oh my gosh...that's so scary! Sometimes I forget the length of my hair, but now I'll be sure to tie it up when around dangers. And never operate equipment alone. What happened is just so scary, and scarier because it can happen to anybody.

This is exactly why I posted it... not being fully aware, or letting our guard down for just one second, or saying, "oh, it will be alright, nothing has ever happened before when I did it this way" can have very tragic consequences.

GlassWidow
April 18th, 2011, 10:26 AM
I saw this on the news and thought about sharing it, too. It's so awful. I can't even imagine how scary it must have been for her.

The pictures showed her hair somewhere between APL and BSL, but perhaps it was longer, given the details of how this happened. The reporters made sure to say that this girl was working alone, and late at night. The students who were on camera discussed the need to have SOMEONE there at all times, but that students have access to the labs at all hours, and they can't expect teaching staff to be there in the middle of the night.

This story has crossed my mind often over the last several days. It makes me feel sick to my stomach that things would have turned out differently if she'd had someone in the lab with her, regardless of whether she wore her hair up. I can't imagine that Yale didn't already have rules about securing loose clothing and hair, and always working with a partner. Hopefully this tragedy will make the enforcement of those rules that much more stringent so that this doesn't happen to someone else.

SwordWomanRiona
April 18th, 2011, 10:33 AM
This is horrible :( I'm so sad for her, why is life like this sometimes?

SwordWomanRiona
April 18th, 2011, 10:40 AM
This is exactly why I posted it... not being fully aware, or letting our guard down for just one second, or saying, "oh, it will be alright, nothing has ever happened before when I did it this way" can have very tragic consequences.

I agree, GRU. We shouldn't be paranoical because anything can happen to us any moment, but we should certainly be fully conscious of what we are doing, especially if working with machinery/in laboratories/practising potentially dangerous sports/... I do archery, for example, and if we didn't keep strict safety rules, we could harm ourselves and/or others so many times! (not wearing arm and chest protection, plucking the arrows out of the target without taking care, walking to the target when there are other people still shooting in other target,...). We musn't be perpetually frightened, but we should laways be on our guard.

lapispimpernel
April 18th, 2011, 10:50 AM
Yipes! That's so sad. :(

After watching someone get a strand ripped out by the roots while rappelling, hair safety is definitely on my mind. (My own brush with a stand mixer wasn't scarring enough, I guess.)

Anje
April 18th, 2011, 11:04 AM
So sad.

I try to be aware of my hair (especially around flames, which are the major hazard I encounter) and try to make sure my students are aware of theirs too. I have yet to get them to stop using cell phones while wearing the rubber gloves intended to give them a barrier between themselves and the microbes they're working with, though. :confused:

squintinschool
April 18th, 2011, 11:15 AM
So sad.

I try to be aware of my hair (especially around flames, which are the major hazard I encounter) and try to make sure my students are aware of theirs too. I have yet to get them to stop using cell phones while wearing the rubber gloves intended to give them a barrier between themselves and the microbes they're working with, though. :confused:
Ack! I see that way to much with my fellow classmates. When I'm in lab, my phone is in my bag, and I'm sure as hell not touching it with my gloves. The only thing I touch with my gloves is lab equipment. Its the whole point of wearing gloves.

MeganE
April 18th, 2011, 12:13 PM
But please remember that accidents can happen in SOO many ways! Whether it's hair, or another body part, or an article of clothing, or just not paying attention to something for a fraction of a second or whatever!! I don't think long hairs need to worry more than anyone else, we just need to be cautious and always aware of our hair AS WELL as anything else which could be potentially hazardous.

Well said! I agree. It's not just about taking care of the hair, it's a general attitude of awareness and taking safety precautions. Too bad it's so easy to get lulled into a sense of safety. :(


So sad.

I try to be aware of my hair (especially around flames, which are the major hazard I encounter) and try to make sure my students are aware of theirs too. I have yet to get them to stop using cell phones while wearing the rubber gloves intended to give them a barrier between themselves and the microbes they're working with, though. :confused:

Oh my gosh! Tell them that if they're going to do that, they might as well not bother with wearing gloves at all! It may not be strictly true, but it might get the point across. They can always wash their hands, but they'll continually be exposed to whatever is on their cell phones for a long time after the fact, depending on what kind of microbes they're working with. Scary!

If they love their cell phones so much, why are the contaminating them?!?!

Runzel
April 18th, 2011, 12:32 PM
It's stories like these that makes me cringe whenever I see people swimming with loose long hair, or riding a rollar coaster with their hair down. Keeping a pair of scissors or a knife handy isn't a bad idea, it can be convenient for numerous other purposes as you go about your day but can also prove invaluable if you end up with your hair caught in something.

Shoga
April 18th, 2011, 12:36 PM
So sad.

I try to be aware of my hair (especially around flames, which are the major hazard I encounter) and try to make sure my students are aware of theirs too. I have yet to get them to stop using cell phones while wearing the rubber gloves intended to give them a barrier between themselves and the microbes they're working with, though. :confused:

Wow!! My lab professor does an inspection every class. If she sees anybody without pants, without closed-toe shoes, with loose hair, or using and non-lab related materials, she kicks them right out the door. They can't come back until whatever the problem was becomes resolved. Pretty strict but it worked.

BrightEyes7
April 18th, 2011, 12:47 PM
How sad.

This reminds me, over the weekend DBF was teaching me how to drive manual transmission, and before I started I took the time to put my hair up. He said something like it's not gonna get in the way... I told him you never know. With this much hair it kinda has a mind of it's own sometimes.

Anje
April 18th, 2011, 12:54 PM
Wow!! My lab professor does an inspection every class. If she sees anybody without pants, without closed-toe shoes, with loose hair, or using and non-lab related materials, she kicks them right out the door. They can't come back until whatever the problem was becomes resolved. Pretty strict but it worked.
I've been tempted to. The most recent incident of this was for a class I stepped in on because another TA was out of the country. Usually just stopping the student and explaining to them what they just did is enough to fix things.

It's not like they're working with particularly threatening pathogens, just opportunistic ones. (It's also not like I wear gloves even when working with actual BSL-2 pathogens, but that's another story.) But they really need to learn to be more aware of safe and unsafe behaviors whereever they are.

FluffSpider
April 18th, 2011, 01:36 PM
I've been tempted to. The most recent incident of this was for a class I stepped in on because another TA was out of the country. Usually just stopping the student and explaining to them what they just did is enough to fix things.

It's not like they're working with particularly threatening pathogens, just opportunistic ones. (It's also not like I wear gloves even when working with actual BSL-2 pathogens, but that's another story.) But they really need to learn to be more aware of safe and unsafe behaviors whereever they are.

Is there any reason you aren't wearing gloves with BSL-2?It sounds a bit risky.HIV is BSL-2, and you may get a slight cut working with some instruments... Anyway, take care of yourself, okay?

gizelle
April 18th, 2011, 01:37 PM
My dad told me about this. He said that he heard of a girl who had her hair tied back in a braid, but it got caught. For safety it needs to be up or tucked into the back of a shirt. Up is better. It is sad to think about, but thank you for posting because it does need to be said.

Maelyssa
April 19th, 2011, 06:25 PM
Thanks for posting GRU. This is a tragedy indeed & I'm sure many of us long hairs don't always think about what can happen accidentally in regards to our hair.
Thank you again.

Anje
April 19th, 2011, 06:54 PM
Is there any reason you aren't wearing gloves with BSL-2?It sounds a bit risky.HIV is BSL-2, and you may get a slight cut working with some instruments... Anyway, take care of yourself, okay?
It's a food-borne pathogen, in my case, so I don't have to worry about cuts and the like. Good technique and washing hands afterward is generally sufficient. I try to wear gloves most of the time when dealing with the organism in question, but for quick stuff like spreading a plate, the risk/benefit curve isn't steep. Ethidium bromide poses a bigger wear-your-gloves risk.

That said, it's admittedly a do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do sort of situation. I'd probably get on an undergrad's case if I saw them doing the same thing.

CurlAhead
April 19th, 2011, 06:57 PM
This is so sad :( All of my thoughts to her family and friends.

GRU
April 19th, 2011, 10:47 PM
I have yet to get them to stop using cell phones while wearing the rubber gloves intended to give them a barrier between themselves and the microbes they're working with, though. :confused:

Anje, I actually used you as an example in my clinical last night. We had a suspected MRSA patient, and the head nurse gowned and gloved up for what we needed to do (which included changing the adult patient's diaper). Afterwards, she went right over to the portable computer (it's one of those 'puter-on-wheels things that can go from one patient room to another) and put her still-gloved hand on the mouse and started clicking away to document her notes in the patient chart. :blueeek:

We have a "debriefing" session with our clinical instructor after we leave the floor, and this nurse's gloved-mousing was something that I brought up. It became quite a topic of discussion around the room, and I mentioned your cell-phone using students in the lab, too. :D

monsterna
April 19th, 2011, 10:55 PM
Anje, I actually used you as an example in my clinical last night. We had a suspected MRSA patient, and the head nurse gowned and gloved up for what we needed to do (which included changing the adult patient's diaper). Afterwards, she went right over to the portable computer (it's one of those 'puter-on-wheels things that can go from one patient room to another) and put her still-gloved hand on the mouse and started clicking away to document her notes in the patient chart. :blueeek:

We have a "debriefing" session with our clinical instructor after we leave the floor, and this nurse's gloved-mousing was something that I brought up. It became quite a topic of discussion around the room, and I mentioned your cell-phone using students in the lab, too. :D

So did they all agree it's a very silly thing to do?

candlesandfish
April 19th, 2011, 11:01 PM
So tragic :( My hair is always up if I'm anywhere near machinery, and often in a bun or under my jacket or shirt as well, because we had it drummed into our heads in High School tech class (compulsory) that if we didn't 'it would get caught and we would die'.

I never thought about lab machinery but apparently it's true...so sad.

BranwenWolf
April 19th, 2011, 11:08 PM
I would also warn LHCers (or anyone with hair longer than an inch!) to be careful with small motor tools, aka Dremels and the like. If your hair gets wrapped around one it can get yanked up to your scalp and gash you, and of course then there's the huge knot. I've even seen pretty bad accidents with egg beaters.

I need to bun more often while working, and I shall start that next time I work. I work with bench grinders, motor tools, flames and many other things.

MandyBeth
April 19th, 2011, 11:11 PM
I am so glad DH has a rule in his contracts that NO ONE does any piercing or tattooing with loose hair that is long enough to be back. Drives people batty to pull their hair up, but the risks are too high.

GRU
April 19th, 2011, 11:11 PM
So did they all agree it's a very silly thing to do?

Yep, the students in my clinical were all horrified at the thought of putting a gloved hand on a mouse after MRSA patient contact!

Alun
April 19th, 2011, 11:32 PM
I used to work with a guy who had previously had an accident (before I started there) that involved getting his hair caught in a drill press. He had specifically cut it short because of what happened to him. Of course, that wasn't something that I was willing to do, but I was always extra cautious to avoid following in his footsteps.

Besides keeping long hair out of the way, which we can all agree upon, it is also vital to know how to turn off the power in a hurry.

As a rule, large machine tools, the kind that are non-portable like the lathe they are talking about, either have a large green ON button and a larger red OFF button, or they have a power switch that goes DOWN for OFF. Now, I know that in the US down always means OFF, but where I come from, and in many other countries, it doesn't, except on fixed machine tools, and then it always does, because you can push a switch down quicker than you can push it up. Hopefully portable tools all have a trigger that has to be held in for them to work.

Nobody should ever operate any power tool without knowing immediately how to turn it off in an emergency, and neither should they ever use them in such a way that the OFF control isn't immediately reachable, even if you are being pulled in some other direction.

BTW, some probably don't want to read this, but she died of "accidental asphyxia by neck compression".

McFearless
April 22nd, 2011, 05:22 PM
BTW, some probably don't want to read this, but she died of "accidental asphyxia by neck compression".

Oh goodness. At first I thought her scalp had been torn off.

KrissyKitty
April 22nd, 2011, 05:28 PM
Beware of treadmills as well! If you fall while on one, your hair can get caught in the belt and have horrible consequences. The red safety cord that you're supposed to clip to your shirt (but no one ever does) is there for just this reason!

BrightEyes7
April 26th, 2011, 05:27 PM
I would also warn LHCers (or anyone with hair longer than an inch!) to be careful with small motor tools, aka Dremels and the like. If your hair gets wrapped around one it can get yanked up to your scalp and gash you, and of course then there's the huge knot. I've even seen pretty bad accidents with egg beaters.



I think this is a good point. Yes we are all aware of our hair around large machines, but what about the little ones? It slips my mind a lot to have my hair completely contained while in the kitchen!


Yep, the students in my clinical were all horrified at the thought of putting a gloved hand on a mouse after MRSA patient contact!

I'm horrified! Hopefully that mouse was thouroughly sanitized before being used again.... MRSA!!! And that didn't cross her mind!


Beware of treadmills as well! If you fall while on one, your hair can get caught in the belt and have horrible consequences. The red safety cord that you're supposed to clip to your shirt (but no one ever does) is there for just this reason!

When I would run on a treadmill I was religious about that thing. Nobody else in my family used it, but I'm super clumsy so I knew if someone was going to fall off it and get hurt it'd be me!

Anje
April 26th, 2011, 06:15 PM
Can I say I'm horrified that she would use the computer wearing gloves after changing the patient's diaper, whether or not the patient had MRSA!?!?!

For the record, I'm pretty good about handwashing. About the only things that get touched with potentially microbe-y hands are pipettemen and pens. (Don't chew on the pens in my lab!) I wash my hands after removing gloves as well, because I can't stand the latexy feel of hands that have been gloved. I would be more worried about the computer next to the GelDoc, which undergrads are constantly tapping at with ethidium bromide-covered gloves.

jojo
April 26th, 2011, 06:20 PM
what a tragic story and waste of one so young. thank you for sharing this GRU, it adds a reminder to be careful round machinery.

GRU
April 26th, 2011, 11:34 PM
I'm horrified! Hopefully that mouse was thouroughly sanitized before being used again.... MRSA!!! And that didn't cross her mind!

I gotta tell you, it made me decide then and there that I will ALWAYS wipe down my station at the beginning of every shift! (we have laptop-type puters on these little rolling pedestals that you take from room to room to do the charting, etc.)



Can I say I'm horrified that she would use the computer wearing gloves after changing the patient's diaper, whether or not the patient had MRSA!?!?!

I think it's just a nursing thing.... poop/diapers are no big deal once you've seen so many of them! (just a guess)

BrightEyes7
April 27th, 2011, 06:01 PM
Can I say I'm horrified that she would use the computer wearing gloves after changing the patient's diaper, whether or not the patient had MRSA!?!?!


Good point... ewww... poo-poo all over that mouse!

Kinda makes you wonder what you would find if you did random microbe testing a 'sanitary' places in hospitals.

Hospitals kinda freak me out... I wash my hands like every two seconds. If I touch something, I wash my hands.

GRU
April 27th, 2011, 06:37 PM
Good point... ewww... poo-poo all over that mouse!

Kinda makes you wonder what you would find if you did random microbe testing a 'sanitary' places in hospitals.

Hospitals kinda freak me out... I wash my hands like every two seconds. If I touch something, I wash my hands.

Hospitals are known for being hotbeds of infection. It has gotten so bad that Medicare/Medicaid won't reimburse the hospital for infections that the person picks up while in the hospital -- the facility has to treat the patient without being paid for any infection-related costs (pain medications, antibiotic treatments, dressings, extra days in the hospital, etc.).

The facility I just finished clinicals in has a hand-sanitizer dispenser at the doorway to every patient room and 2-3 other dispensers placed strategically throughout every patient room. Every patient room also has VERY strong antiseptic wipes for wiping down equipment, door handles, bedside tray tables, etc. (don't use them with bare skin, only while wearing gloves -- they'll darn near eat the skin off your hands, they're so strong!). There are also sanitizer dispensers at the doorway and inside every waiting room, next to every vending machine, next to every elevator, etc.

Some nurses/aides leave their shoes in a bag in their car (they change their shoes in the parking lot before getting into their vehicle) and once home they strip their scrubs off in front of the washing machine and deposit them directly into the laundry, then take a complete shower before joining their families.