BOSTON — A haircut gone wrong almost cost a man his life on Friday, Feb. 12 at Boston Barber and Tattoo Co. in Bowdoin. Steve Silva, a Wilmington resident and barber at the company, tripped and accidentally impaled his chest and pierced an artery with a pair of closed scissors while cutting Boston University freshman Max Cohen’s hair.
Cohen spoke with the Town Crier in depth about how he helped Silva until medical services arrived.
When asked about his background, Max said, “I am currently a freshman at Boston University studying in the Questrom School of Business. I am originally from just outside San Francisco. I enjoy spending time with friends and family and love seeing people around me being happy.”
Max’s recount of the accident is as follows:
“When I first saw blood on the floor, I was pretty stunned. I thought he had just fallen and thought he had thrown the scissors away when he slipped. I thought to myself for a second that what had happened was not real.
“In the video, I pretty clearly hesitated as I was trying to figure out what had just happened. When it finally clicked for me (about 30 seconds after the fall) that he had stabbed himself, I quickly told Sarah (the barber next to him) to have him lay down on his back.
“She already had a towel on his chest compressing the wound as well, so I didn't have to worry about doing that myself. Nikki, a barber in the other room, was already on the phone getting an ambulance, as well.
“I ran and got other towels from the other room so we would have extra towels in order to keep swapping and not having to use a bloody towel to compress the wound. After the first towel was pretty red, I asked Sarah to pull the towel she was holding off to check the wound and see exactly what it looked like, and change to a fresh towel.
“When I saw that it was a small but relatively deep cut, I felt good knowing that we would be able to keep the bleeding under control until the ambulance showed up. Thankfully, the barber shop is just across the street from the State House, so an ambulance was out front within about two minutes from his fall.
“Throughout the process I was explaining what I was thinking to Steve and the other barbers so they would understand and also partly to make sure that Steve was still responding to us. A chest wound would be imaginably a pretty dramatic experience, so I wanted to do the best I could at keeping him from losing track of us and possibly going into shock.
“Once I saw the wound, I told him he would be just fine, and he started to calm down. He slowed his breathing and started responding to questions such as ‘Do you remember where you are?’”
Max also explained his thought process as he tended to Steve’s wounds:
“At the beginning, to be honest, I had no idea how bad the wound was. That was one of the biggest priorities for me to make sure that we were able to see it and treat it accordingly. When I saw the wound, and I saw that he had fallen pretty much straight onto closed scissors, I was very relieved.
“I knew it would be easier to control a smaller wound as well, but at the same time, I really didn't know how deep the scissors ended up going in. I actually had to leave to take a midterm, so I was not able to hear what was happening up to date with Steve, so I was pretty stunned while taking an interview the next day to hear that they had cracked his chest plate to perform open heart surgery.
“As I mentioned before, I was trying to talk to him before the ambulance showed up to make sure that he was still able to engage with us.”
In terms of aftermath, Max said, “I was really glad to hear that Steve has been progressing post-op very well. It was awesome to see, as well, that the GoFundMe set up for him has now raised over $31,000 to help pay for the medical bills.
“I have been talking on and off both with Steve and the owner of Boston Barber Co. (Rob) and I am glad to hear, as well, that all parties are doing relatively well considering the circumstances of the accident.
“Steve actually texted me the day after he got out of surgery to make sure that someone finished my haircut, so it is awesome to see he has maintained a really good attitude throughout his recovery, as well. I am excited for the day he is able to return back to work and will be booking an appointment with him to have my hair cut again as soon as I can.”
Cohen is applauded for his bravery and quick thinking in preventing this accident from turning deadly. And, according to Boston Barber & Tattoo Co. Owner Dello Russo, Silva is recovering.