Oh, deer! Retired Rochester doctor helps deer recover from vehicle collision

Feb. 10—ROCHESTER — Michael Sparacino was bucked from his audiobook on Tuesday morning.

His morning routine as a retired doctor changed from his front porch reading session to taking a "chance" to help a deer near the intersection of Sand Trap Lane and Tee Time Road in east Rochester.

"About eight deer were crossing the street and a car was taking a right and hit one of the deer, and it went down and it couldn't get up," Sparacino said. "I approached it slowly, and it was stunned so it didn't really know that I was there but I could tell that the ... patella, the knee cap, was dislocated."

After 36 years of working in family medicine at the Olmsted Medical Center and the Osan Air Base in South Korea as the emergency room director, Sparacino followed his training with human patients to care for an animal. He's helped dozens of people with this procedure but never a deer.

"In people what you do is you just straighten out the leg and the patella just pops right back in, and that's what happened with the deer," Sparacino said.

The deer got up and walked away shortly after, and Sparacino said the deer is doing well. But just to be clear, he's not a veterinarian and says, "I wouldn't advise anybody to do it unless they know what they're doing or call someone if they have the least bit of hesitancy."


Minnesota Department of Public Safety

recommends people keep their distance from a deer after an animal is hit by a vehicle as the deer might recover and move away. DPS also encourages drivers to not veer for a deer and to slow down, be aware in deer-active areas, blow your horn to urge the deer to move and use high-beam headlights at night.

"I could tell that it was injured and I thought that it might be something reversible ... otherwise there were no overt injuries. So the worse I could do was nothing, and there was a chance that I could do something," Sparacino said about helping the deer. "The procedure for that is just so simple I wouldn't be doing it any harm."