Dr. James G. Adams, professor and chairman of emergency medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, said that he, too, had encountered patients with snowblower-related injuries during his time at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston from 1995 to 2000.
"In the winter, every day, people would come in with their fingers cut off," Adams said. "I remember taking care of a doctor on the medical staff who was shoveling his driveway and cut his fingers off. When the chute got clogged, there was still tension and torque, so as soon as you got snow out, the snowblower would turn really quickly and cut your fingers off."
However, he said, manufacturers "changed it so there wasn't any residual torque, and that seemed to decrease the incidence of snowblower injuries."
But it didn't eliminate them.
"It's a good general public health message," Adams said. "Any reminder to the public that snowblower injuries are still occurring and have not been completely eliminated is still a good message."
The American Society for Surgery of the Hand has more on snowblower and lawnmower injuries.
SOURCES: Daniel Master, M.D., orthopedic surgery resident, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio; James G. Adams, professor and chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago; Feb. 27, 2009, presentation, annual meeting, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Las Vegas
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