“Statistics show that there’s about 6,000 people a year that are getting injured by snow blowers and unfortunately, about 10 percent of those result in amputations,” said Dr. Jay Talsania, a surgeon with OAA Orthopaedic Specialists in Allentown.
Locally, the numbers are just as astounding.
“My partners, doctors McDaid, Battista, and Weiss, and I have seen about 30 patients just this winter with snow blower amputations,” he said.
According to Talsania, the injuries typically result from people attempting to clear packed snow and ice from the device that’s casting out the snow, as opposed to the auger that’s collecting the snow.
And sadly, the amputations are not normally “clean-cut.”
“It’s an avulsion-type injury, or a tearing-type injury,” he said, noting that the detached portion of finger is not easily reattached.
The amputations, he said, can still occur soon after the snow blower is turned off, as the engine is cooling down.
As a good rule of thumb – so to speak – Talsania advises to never stick your hand into any part of the snow blower.
Instead, he advises to use a hard stick or heavy broom to clean out packed snow.
“You don’t want to use a light stick because then that can break and cause flying objects.”
Talsania hopes that spreading the message of snow blower safety will put a halt on bodily accidents.
If not, however, he advises people who are injured to try to save whatever is detached.
“[With the injury] put a clean sterile dressing on a little slurry of ice and get to the closest hospital.”
Author: Liz Kilmer , WFMZ