Bakersfield woman’s foot is amputated after rifle accident
A rifle accident on the opening day of firearms deer season has left one Ozark County mother without a foot and a family looking for answers.
Bakersfield resident Angie Lamb hadn’t even made it to her deer stand that Saturday morning, Nov. 16, when her Remington 700 series rifle fired – without Lamb touching the trigger.
Lamb, who recently had surgery on her left knee, said her husband John was driving her to her deer stand that morning so she wouldn’t have to walk so far.
“I have always been careful with guns,” said Lamb. “The barrel was pointing to the ground like it should, and the safety was on.”
Lamb said her finger wasn’t on the trigger when the barrel of the rifle bumped the dashboard and fired. “I remember hearing the loud noise, and I asked my husband, ‘Why didn’t you have the safety on?’ He looked at the gun and said, ‘The safety is on.’
“We had not realized at that point I had been shot.”
Lamb said she then looked down and saw “my foot was gone.”
A registered nurse, Lamb called 911 and put the dispatcher on speaker while her husband drove to meet the ambulance. “I could feel myself going into shock, which was something I was worried about,” she said.
When the couple arrived at the gas station in South Fork, two Missouri Department of Conservation agents were there conducting testing for chronic wasting disease.
“One jumped up, Matt Franks. I’ll never forget him,” said Lamb. “I was starting to lose consciousness. He grabbed my face and basically brought me back. He was a great source of comfort.”
When the ambulance arrived, she was transported to Cox South Hospital in Springfield.
“They were actually able to put my foot back together,” said Lamb. “But only long enough for me to decide whether to keep it.”
Lamb said she knew the foot would never be usable, so she made the decision to amputate. The surgery was done the next day, Sunday, Nov. 17.
Recovery and support
Lamb is currently going through physical therapy in a Springfield rehabilitation facility.
“Since I had the surgery on my other knee, I haven’t been able to put a lot of weight on it,” said Lamb. “So rehab is a little more difficult. But I’ll get through it.”
According to Lamb, the normal stay at the facility is up to three weeks. “But I’m stubborn and plan on getting out within a week. I want to be out of here,” she said. “It’s going to be a long recovery, not easy, but I am looking forward to returning to our new normal. I’m ready to be home.”
The Bakersfield community has been extremely supportive of the Lamb family, she said. “They’ve all been so wonderful. I am very blessed to have the support I have. I’ve got so many people supporting me.”
As evidence of the community’s care and support, friends have already built a ramp at the Lambs’ home so she won’t have to struggle up steps.
Meanwhile, John Lamb has stayed with his wife. “He’s just wonderful. He has not left my side since it happened. Even when we tried to get him to take a break,” she said.
She said the ordeal has been hard on her close-knit family. The Lambs have three children: Austin, 25; Cassidy, 22; and Aiden, 13; a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.
“They’ve had difficulty adjusting but they have come up and seen me quite often,” she said.
In addition to her family and the Bakersfield community, Lamb said her co-workers and boss at the West Plains Surgery Center have been “a ray of light. I work with a wonderful group of people.”
She said she will still have a job waiting for her when she is able to return to work. “They will let me do what I can do. I will eventually have a prosthesis, and it won’t affect my work at all,” she said.
A benefit auction for the Lambs is planned for 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, in the Bakersfield School gymnasium.
Several items will be up for auction, including a certificate for a European deer skull whitening from Summers Taxidermy and Wildlife Studio in Bakersfield. The certificate is valued at up to $75.
Also up for auction will be a $125 gift certificate from Shannon Bridges Photography and a free rack of ribs from Krispy Pig BBQ in West Plains. More items will be added.
To make a donation, call or text Jasmine Lamb at 870-656-0509 or go to facebook.com/angielambbenefit.
Unknown at the time to Lamb and her family, accidental discharges by the Remington 700 series rifle have been linked to at least two dozen deaths and more than 100 serious injuries, according to online sources. Lawsuits filed against the company cite guns firing without the trigger being touched.
In 2015 and 2016, the company issued a voluntary recall of certain serial numbers and carried out a campaign to notify the public of a trigger replacement offer. In March 2017, a judgment was made against Remington in a class action lawsuit that alleged the guns can fire without the trigger being pulled.
“We knew about the recall of some of the Remington guns but the serial number of my gun was not within the recall,” said Lamb. “But we have since found out that the model I own also has a history of misfiring and injuring people. We didn’t have a clue about that until someone brought us an article on it.”
According to the CNBC website, Remington has been under scrutiny for years. In the 2010 documentary “Remington Under Fire: A CNBC Investigation,” the news organization allegedly uncovered internal company documents showing that engineers had been working on a “theoretical unsafe condition” since before 1948. Allegedly, Remington repeatedly decided against modifying the trigger design or launching a recall.
Remington has also been on the receiving end of several wrongful death lawsuits, settling most of the suits out of court. Despite the settlements, according to various news reports, Remington continues to deny wrongdoing and maintains the rifles are safe.
Lamb said right now she and her family are focusing on her recovery, but they will be in contact with Remington about the incident. “We will be following up with Remington. This is not something I plan to let go. Maybe it will keep someone else from getting hurt.”
(Note: A special website has been set up with information about the class action lawsuit and the rifles included. For more information visit http://remingtonfirearmsclassactionsettlement.com/ or call 1-800-876-5940.)