Pennsylvania man recovering from horrific chainsaw accident

Tree trimmer hospitalized with chainsaw in neck
X-Ray of James Valentine's neck. (Source: NBC News Channel)
X-Ray of James Valentine's neck. (Source: NBC News Channel)
James Valentine. (Source: NBC News Channel)
James Valentine. (Source: NBC News Channel)

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania man is in the hospital, recovering from a horrific chainsaw accident.

The blade ended up in his neck, inches from severing a major artery.

"I felt it and shut the saw off," said James Valentine, a 21-year-old tree trimmer. "It was in me and still running. I saw the blood and it was 'Oh my gosh. What in the world?'"

Valentine was taking down the tree Monday and was cutting at an unusual angle to avoid power lines.

"I revved it back up and it kicked back out on me and nicked me right there and got stuck in me right there and that's when I tried to get out of the tree," Valentine said.

The blade of the chainsaw went into his left shoulder and cut into his neck.

A co-worker helped Valentine down from the tree. When paramedics arrived they had a tough job taking the motor apart from the blade.

"An inch in either direction may change the outcome of this," said Dr. Christine Toevs, who treated Valentine at Allegheny General Hospital.

When Valentine arrived the chainsaw was still stuck in his neck, which is exactly what needed to happen. The chainsaw had to stay in place to stop the bleeding until doctors removed it.

"He missed every important structure, just had a little what we call soft muscle and skin," Toevs said. "We fixed that and repaired that and he's done quite well."

Valentine said it could have been worse.

"Someone (was) looking over me for sure," he said.

It will take a few days for him to recover, but Valentine said he plans on getting right back to his job.

"I'm a tree climber -- that's what I do."

This story is from NBC News.