Doctors warn of snow-related injuries

SALT LAKE CITY -- Doctors warn more snow means more snow removal related injuries.

“The more storms we have the more likely we are to see snow blower injuries,” said Dr. David Barnes, ER Physician, Intermountain Medical Center.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, on average about 5,700 people hurt themselves while using a snow blower. Mostly burns and deep cuts, but 15 percent of those people have had their fingers amputated.

“Most often what will happen is the snow blower will get clogged and they'll want to free up the clog,” Barnes said. “When people reach in there the snow will be holding the blade and when you clear that blade the blade will turn a half turn and that's enough to sometimes cut someone’s fingers off.

Barnes explained sometimes the injuries will cause a 'degloving' of the skin, which causes the skin to pull off, leaving the bone.

Nationally in the past ten years there have been 197 snow blower related amputation cases and only seven of those involved women. The victims hospitals see most are men in their 40's

‘I know a gentleman who took of three of his fingers by trying to reach in and get something that was clogged in there and took all three of them off,” said Josh Neeley, Owner, Pehrson's Power Products

This season Pehrson's Power Products have fixed and tuned hundreds of snow blowers.

“The gentleman that lost the three fingers, that was a 73,000 bill,” Neeley said.

Doctors wanr never to put your hand near the blades, use a stick or tool. If you use a shovel instead of a snow blower, said doctors, you're four times as likely to get injured, but not as severely