The 4th of July is a time for beer, barbecues and fireworks - but in a recent Reddit thread, medical professionals are telling stories that function as excellent reminders to practice caution over the holiday. Here are some of the worst injuries that doctors, nurses and first responders have treated due to 4th of July accidents.
"I had a nine-year-old lose an eye a few years ago," recalls one commenter. "An older kid shot a bottle rocket at him and the bottle rocket hit him in the right eye. The globe ruptured from the explosion. I had to pack his eye socket with gauze in an attempt to keep the rest of the globe together but it was pretty obvious the eye was a total loss. The older kid was prosecuted for the incident."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, firework-related accidents are fairly common. A first responder shares something they remember happening when they were a kid: "Friend of the family was a spectator at a city event. A firework misfired and went into the crowd, and hit him square in the face before blowing up. It broke most of the bones in his face, lost one eye, suffered brain damage."
"I helped with this one as an intern a while ago," says another commenter. "Some drunk guy was holding a mortar tube and firing it off. Ended up turning towards him so he put his hand over the tube to hopefully stop it coming out? Ended up blowing up the majority of his hand and burned a hole in his abdomen."
It can't be overstated how important it is to handle these things with care. As one comment points out: "I mean, when you consider it, it is a small bomb that gets launched into the air."
Somebody who works in a burn unit says they dread this particular holiday. "Every year there's a bunch of fireworks and grill and kitchen fire accidents coming in with something that could have been prevented/avoided if the people involved had just taken a few moments to realize what could go wrong with this idea. A recurrent one is someone setting off a small firework in their hand. Hand open, little damage. Closed hand around the firework? Yeah, anywhere from a few fingers to the majority of the hand now gone."
On the less serious side of the scale, a medic has this cautionary tale: "I had a patient who thought it would be funny to light their farts with a lighter when they were drunk. Their perineal area was scorched. Please drink responsibly and be careful with flammable objects."