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Four-year-old Johnson City girl recovering from lawnmower accident

Kacie Dingus Breeding • Apr 9, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Martha McClure sits by the bed of granddaughter Rawna Simpson, who is recovering from a lawnmower accident. Erica Yoon photo.


A four-year-old girl girl is expected to spend the next two weeks in Johnson City Medical Center after a lawnmower accident on Sunday claimed part of her foot.

“She wants toes — she knows they’re gone,” Martha McClure said of her granddaughter, Rawna Simpson, on Wednesday. “But she doesn’t know the extent of how much foot she’s lost.”

A relative accidentally backed over Rawna’s left foot while mowing outside their home in Johnson City. She had most of the foot amputated Sunday afternoon.

Martha McClure said she and Rawna were planting flowers moments before the accident. She stepped inside the house for just a second and the next things she knew, she heard Rawna scream.

“In the beginning she wasn’t even near the mower, but in a split second she was behind it. She ran over behind (the mower as it) was backing up,” McClure said.

The accident has deprived the girl of more than just part of a limb — it’s made her afraid of some of her favorite toys, McClure said. Because the lawn mower was green, “she’s having an issue with the color green,” she said.

Even though her “favorite thing in this world is frogs,” McClure said, Rawna has been rejecting several of the stuffed amphibians since the accident.

“(Rawna’s) going to bounce back faster and a lot stronger than any of the rest of us,” McClure said. “She’s probably going to be the strength that gets us through this.”

The McClures hope to help other families avoid the grief they’re going through right now by offering one piece of advice for people to heed when mowing the yard: “Children shouldn’t be in the yard at all.”

Dr. E. C. Goulding III, Indian Path Medical Center Emergency Room Director, echoed the McClures’ words. The IPMC emergency room typically sees a rise in lawn mower injuries this time of year at the start of the mowing season.

Taking precautions such as keeping children a safe distance from mowers, wearing protective clothing, boots instead of flip flops, cleated shoes on wet grass, keeping a grass guard on riding mowers, and paying attention to one’s surroundings for potential dangers (hills, holes, bees, etc.) would likely prevent many mowing-related injuries, Goulding said.

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