Accident means Iffts notselling holiday turkeys
October 9, 2012

EVANS CITY — Ifft’s Turkey Farm will not sell fresh holiday turkeys for the first time in 60 years.

The break in poultry production at the third-generation farm on Pioneer Road is the result of a January accident that left farm owner Omar Ifft fighting for his life in the shock-trauma unit at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Omar’s wife, Deanna Ifft, said on Thursday that her husband is recovering at home after three-months in the hospital, first at AGH then UPMC Mercy.

Ifft was spreading gravel in the farm’s driveway on Jan. 10 when an accident involving the family’s skid steer machine occurred. Ifft’s son found his father, 53, unresponsive in the still-running machine and with a gash on his head.

Evans City police Chief Joe McCombs was the first emergency responder on the scene, and determined that Ifft had no heartbeat. McCombs used the automated external defibrillator in his squad car to shock Ifft’s heart back into a rhythm, and EMS workers discovered that fractured vertebrae, not the head wound, was Ifft’s life-threatening problem.

Deanna Ifft said doctors told her the spinal injury that her husband suffered is known in the medical community as the “hangman’s break” because the vertebrae he fractured are those normally broken in a hanging.

“They said he was pretty lucky to have lived,” Deanna Ifft said.