Local News

Monday, Aug 12 2013 12:33 PM

Implosion victim to undergo multi-surgeon operation

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    By via Facebook

    Facebook profile photo of Jerry Wood

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    By Autumn Parry / The Californian

    The two remaining towers of the old Pacific Gas &Electric steam power plant are on their sides Sunday after the implosion knocked them to the ground at Coffee Road and Rosedale Highway early Saturday morning.

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    By Glen Campbell/ Special to The Californian

    A view of the Kern Power plant implosion Saturday morning.

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Six to eight surgeons from multiple fields are scheduled to perform a major operation Thursday to try and save the left leg of the local man critically wounded during the implosion at PG&E's old northwest Bakersfield power plant earlier this month, his family's attorney said Monday.

Jerry Wood of Bakersfield saw great improvement in his right leg over the weekend but is still at "high risk" of losing his left leg, said lawyer Dennis Thelan.

He said Wood was in surgery Monday morning -- his seventh or eighth in nine days -- to prepare for the operation Thursday, which is to involve surgeons from the vascular, plastic, orthopedic and neuro fields. Thursday's procedures will be an "eight- to 10-hour ordeal," Thelan said.

He said the surgeries will include repairing nerve damage in both legs, particularly the left, and taking muscle from the abdominal wall and implanting it in the left leg. Later, Thelan said, Wood will require bone grafts.

The good news, though, is that doctors think the right leg can be saved from amputation, Thelan said. How much function it will have remains an open question.

"We're miles down the road from knowing that, but being told it's likely that won't need amputation is wonderful news," the Bakersfield attorney said.

Wood, 43 and general manager and director of sales and marketing for a Bakersfield-based software development company, was struck by debris during the early morning implosion at the plant near Coffee Road and Rosedale Highway Aug. 3.

Wood was one of hundreds of people who came out to watch the demolition; he was in the parking lot of Lowe's on Coffee.

Multiple state agencies are investigating the incident.

Wood is being treated at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

"His spirits are up and down. That's all I feel comfortable sharing," Thelan said. "It's not a lot of fun to be in this situation, to say the least.

"His wife is very supportive. She's hanging in there."

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