Philadelphia hand surgeon: Severe fireworks injuries leave 'nothing left to fix'

The increased popularity and expanded access to fireworks has caused a rise in devastating firework-related injuries, Michael Rivlin, MD, a hand and wrist surgeon at Philadelphia-based Rothman Institute, wrote in an op-ed for The Inquirer.

Fireworks require an intense amount of heat that people are rarely exposed to People often also forget the spontaneity of fireworks, which creates a breeding ground for accidents waiting to happen, according to Dr. Rivlin.

Out of all the body parts most at risk for a fireworks-related injury are the hands, since people use their hands to light, handle and place fireworks.

"The extreme heat fireworks generate can obliterate the fingers and palm," wrote Dr. Rivlin. "We have seen flesh and bone burnt off or destroyed. In those cases, there is nothing left to fix or reconstruct."

Lifelong injury is also common due to the amount of blood loss, leaving the hand rarely the same. Ultimately, Dr. Rivlin believes no fireworks display, "even the grandest of grand finales is worth permanent disability."

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