Student Works to overcome injury

Senior David Meisgeier encounters an accident of a lifetime that will forever impact his life

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Student Works to overcome injury

Fink, (STUDENT) Jonathan

Fink, (STUDENT) Jonathan

Fink, (STUDENT) Jonathan

Ben Fink, Reporter

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Flipping burgers, washing town dirty tables, taking orders, picking up spilt French Fries, and taking out the trash are all procedures at your typical fast food job.  With low maintenance comes low pay, and with low pay comes low stress/liability. However, this is not the case for everyone.

For Senior David Meisgeier, a normal day working his job at a Zesto restaurant, a good day turned bad real quick.  After letting the frying grease cool for about an hour or so, David decided it was time to dispose of it out back. Nothing unusual for working a shift at the fast food place.  Unfortunately what happened during this process was unusual. While carrying the 5 gallon bucket filled with grease out back, David noticed some of the grease leaking. When attempting to set the bucket down, David slipped on the grease.

“The bucket had sprung a leak on the bottom, I caught it but not quick enough. When I went to set it down, I slipped in the trail it left and dropped the bucket to catch myself. Hot oil went everywhere,” Meisgeier said.

Meisgeier had been a long time employee of Zesto. He started working April of 2017, and took a break from October 2017 to May of 2018 to focus on school work. This accident took place after he went back in the summer.

Meisgeier was quickly rushed to the hospital thanks to a kind lady who watched this whole event happen.

“First a kind stranger who was at the drive thru took me to the Methodist Women’s Hospital ER, where they stabilized me and loaded me into an ambulance to take me to the burn center in Lincoln at Saint Elizabeth’s,” Meisgeier said.

Meisgeier’s situation would likely have been much worse if that lady did not help him.

“I don’t know.  Don’t want to know. I was pretty level-headed at first but the pain was getting to me.  The adrenaline kept me focused and because of my experience as an Eagle Scout, I remembered basic treatment steps, but I couldn’t do it all myself,” Meisgeier said.

“Wouldn’t you believe it, none of my coworkers called 911.”  

Although working in this industry is generally safe, employees are often exposed to hazards that threaten their health and safety

“It was mostly safe, although I thought it was stupid we were told to clean the fryers mid day, I always thought to myself: why not clean them in the morning when they’ve had all night to cool?” Meisgeier said.

Of course with major burns, Meisgeier was constantly in terrible pain and was had to be treated carefully.

“Burns are the most painful injury to have,” Meisgeier said.  EMTs gave Meisgeier fentanyl in the ambulance to kill the pain and light anestesia to help with nerves while they worked on the second and third degree burns. Doctors popped the blisters and cut off dead skin in order to be able to work with what remained alive underneath.

“They then glued porcine (literal pigskin, no joke) to my wounds to keep them covered,” Meisgeier said.

Meisgeier stayed in Saint Elizabeth’s for two days and went home to reduce infection. Every week he returns for check-ups.

After the pigskin came off, all that remained were third degree spots, which required grafts.  Both legs, his abdomen, entire right arm and hand, and face had all been burnt. His knees left thigh were third degree burns.

“I have been in two times to complete a complex, multi-layered skin graft surgery.  They’ve had to use shark cartilage, cow collagen, and my own skin to cut off my right thigh to complete it, and use staples to hold everything.  One thing to say – not fun,” Meisgeier said.

Obviously, it takes time to heal, but he will have some major scars from the burns when he is older on his wrist, bicep, knees, and calves.

“The skin on my knees and left thigh is artificial, so I will never have feeling there again,” Meisgeier said.

Though these scars aren’t something that he wants, he continues have to think on the bright side.

“I can now say I’m part shark.  Maybe I’ll get superpowers or something,” Meisgeier said.

It will definitely take some time for Meguiar to start coming back to school.

“I’ve gone twice for half days during a brief window when my legs weren’t wrapped and immobilized,” Meisguier said. “I’ll probably start showing up again soon, coming back in half days, then full ones.”

Meisgeier is spending his free time like most other kids would if home sick during the school day.

“When I’m not killing time on my phone or sleeping because the percocet or whatever painkiller they’ve prescribed me this week knocked me out, I’m catching up on school or talking to relatives who are worried about me,” Meisgeier said.

Very few people can say that they have gone though actual “hell” before from getting burned very severely.

“It really gives me a new perspective on what it’s like to truly be in pain,” Meisgeier said.