MAYWOOD, Ill. -- It's the peak season for snowstorms, and snow blowers are working overtime.
But Loyola hand surgeon Dr. Randy Bindra cautions that snow blowers can cause severe hand injuries, including loss of fingers that can require one or more surgeries and months of rehabilitation. "Every winter, we get three or four cases," he said.
A government safety agency says snow blowers cause hundreds of finger amputations each winter. Newer snow blowers have a kill switch that stops the machine if the operator tries to clear snow or debris. But many older models still in use lack this safety feature, Bindra said.
Safety experts advise:
• Never put your hand down the chute or around the blades of a snow blower.
• Use a stick or broom handle to clear impacted snow.
• Keep all shields in place and keep hands and feet away from moving parts.
Bindra is a specialist in hand problems, pediatric hand problems and wrist problems. He is director of Loyola's Hand Surgery Fellowship Program and a professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine.
Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 569-licensed-bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.