Holy crap, I read about the amputations just here in CT over the past
few days. 12 patients lose 19 fingers. .
What is shocking though, half of the losses occurred after the engine
was shut off. It seems that the auger can retain power if it is
jammed the right way and when released, it will jump far enough to
take a finger or two with it.
Use that little shovel that comes with it, or a stick. Keep the hands
Snow blower injuries across the state
Using them with caution
Updated: Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013, 12:16 AM EST
Published : Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013, 12:16 AM EST
HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- News 8 is warning you about a piece of
equipment that residents have relied on over the past few days.
Emergency rooms all over the state report that they've had to treat
several patients for snow blower related injuries.
"I've seen people and heard of people doing it but I don't know of
anybody who was injured," said George Howard of West Hartford. "Been
using the snow blower since the storm ended on Saturday, about 11
o'clock. Been working 14, 15 hours a day."
Howard has been doing snow removal for years and while he knows not to
stick his hand into a running snow blower, people do it.
At Hartford Hospital alone, 5 people were treated for lost fingers
over the weekend.
Dr. Allan Babigan is a plastic surgeon and says with this heavy wet
snow, he is surprised the number isn't higher.
"We had a 31 inch snow storm and we had 12 people come into the ER who
lost 19 fingers and all of them were amputations," Dr. Babigan said.
Dr. Babigan says especially with the rain, the snow is really heavy
and wet which can stall the snow blower, making it even more
dangerous. The snow binds the blades and they are still under
pressure. Because it's off you think there is no danger but when you
reach in with your hand and remove the snow, the blades can spin
taking your fingers off.
"It might only be a quarter turn or a half turn but that is enough to
cause a fracture or soft tissue injury," said Dr. Babigan.
"Half the people who lose their fingers do so when is it off," said
News 8's Bob Wilson.
"Really? Well that is good news to me. I will have to think about that
next time I put my finger in there," said Howard.
Howard is experienced recommends using a stick or a broom handle to
clear the snow. Dr. Babigan has done exhaustive research and says most
injuries take place during the first 20 minutes of snow blowing, only
feet from the garage.
"We found that these were people who were very familiar with a snow
blower and had been doing it for years and they thought they could get
away with it this time," said Dr. Babigan.