WARNING: The pictures in this story may be disturbing to some readers.
A Saskatchewan woman says she lost a finger after her ring got caught on a waterslide at one of the largest malls in North America.
Claire Clark was celebrating her granddaughter’s third birthday at West Edmonton Mall’s water park on Aug. 5 when she decided to take a ride on a slide called the Corkscrew.
Watch below: File video of the Corkscrew waterslide at the West Edmonton Mall World Waterpark
She says she was grabbing onto a thin piece of mesh and foam padding at the top to push herself down when her ring got caught.
Clark says skin on her right ring finger was ripped at the first knuckle and there was only bone on the rest of the finger. She says she didn’t lose much blood but that “it was kind of ugly.”
“I lost my finger right at the top of the slide before I even went down.”
The avulsion injury is known as “degloving,”and happens when the top layers of skin and tissue are ripped from the underlying muscle, connective tissue, or bone.
When a ring gets caught or trapped, it doesn’t always easily slip off one’s finger. Instead, the edges of the metal may cut into the finger itself, potentially stripping it of flesh and muscle tissue.
Clark says she kept her hands clenched together and out of the water while she went down the slide. She immediately sought out first aid and says she was in a bit of shock.
“I sat down and when they asked me to get up to get onto the ambulance stretcher my legs just felt like rubber.”
Watch below: A grandmother from Saskatoon is warning others to be cautious after her finger was severed going down a waterslide at West Edmonton Mall. Sarah Kraus reports. WARNING: This story contains disturbing content.
A plastic surgeon at the University of Alberta Hospital told her that there was nothing left to sew the finger back into and it had to be amputated. Clark says her daughter sat with her through the entire surgery to help keep her calm.
“She’s quite upset about it but it helps to write her story and she was with me the whole time. She sat there when they were doing the surgery, she sat there and talked for 45 minutes so I wasn’t thinking about it. I couldn’t watch them.”
Clark says people who are wearing jewelry should be told to take it off before they go down the waterslides.
“I wish that the waterslide attendants at the top of the slide, when the slide goes down, I wish they would check for jewelry because my rings are pretty obvious,” she said.
“My husband was wearing a big chain and that could have caught and that would have been disastrous because it could have decapitated him.”
A spokesperson for the mall did not take questions, but said: “West Edmonton Mall is unable to comment at this time as the incident is under investigation.”
A lengthy list of rules on the water park’s website did not say anything specific about jewelry as of 4 p.m. on Aug. 14.
The Canada Safety Council, which publishes education programs and information relating to safety, says this type of injury is not common at water parks in our country, but the organization does not keep statistics on private water parks.
With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News.