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Updated: Man's sight saved after shears impale eye

'If anybody doubts there are miracles, they can happen'

University Medical Center trauma surgeons saved the eyesight and life of an 86-year-old Green Valley man who fell on pruning shears that pierced his eye socket and neck, said Ann Cisneros, a UMC spokeswoman, Monday.

Leroy Luetscher was taken to UMC after losing his balance when he dropped the gardening tool while working in his yard July 30. The pruning shears landed point-down, but Leutscher fell on the handle, Cisneros said.

The tool pierced his eye socket and landed in his neck, where the handle of the shears lodged on his carotid artery, said Dr. Lynn Polonski, an eye specialist with UMC’s trauma team.

"You wouldn't believe your eyes," said Dr. Wynne, assistant professor in the UA Department of Surgery. "Half of the pruning shears was sticking out and the other half was in his head.” 

Luetscher's partner, Arpy Williams, said she was alerted by noises in the garage.

"I was reading a book in the backyard and I heard a strange noise. I found him bleeding over the laundry sink. He said, 'please take it out.' "

Williams said the ambulance arrived about two minutes after she called 911 and credits their response and Dr. Polonski for saving Luetscher's life.

"If there ever was a miracle, if anybody doubts there are miracles, they can happen," Williams said of the care Luetscher received by EMTs and the staff at UMC.

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Luetscher, the former CEO of Golden Guernsey Dairy in Wisconsin, retired to Arizona in 1998.

Polonski said that Luetscher has slight swelling remaining and double vision.

"I am so grateful to the doctors and staff at UMC,” Luetscher said.

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University of Arizona Medical Center

An X-ray shows a pair of gardening shears that 86-year-old Leroy Luetscher, of Green Valley, fell on when he lost his balance while doing yard work on July 30.