Winter Storm Means Increased Risk for Deadly Hand Injuries

Posted 1/11/2018

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Western Wisconsin winter snowfall means people who are using snowblowers are at an increased risk of major hand injuries.

“We all sometimes forget how powerful snowblowers are. Every year I treat and operate on numerous people who have injured their hands by pushing items into the snowblower chute or trying to dislodge snow. It only takes a second to do major damage,” said Eau Claire hand surgeon Dr. Clint Merrick.

Merrick says the sharp rotating blades of a snowblower can do major damage up to and including amputation. In those cases, Merrick says 911 needs to be called immediately because the injury can be life-threatening. Other injuries can include amputated fingers and injury to the hand and arm.

“The most important thing is to remember to turn off the snowblower and use an object like a broom handle or stick to free stuck snow,” added Merrick. 

Dr. Merrick is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in disorders of the hand and general plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery. His goal is to help every patient find solutions to their health and wellness concerns.

Dr. Merrick received his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1998. He completed his general surgery internship, a general surgery residency and an integrated plastic surgery training program at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Merrick completed a hand surgery fellowship at Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand Surgery in Louisville, Kentucky in 2005.

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