ERs busy during Fourth of July holiday

Jul 2, 2012, 7:16 AM | Updated: 7:16 am

PHOENIX — Banks, government offices and many
businesses will be closed on Wednesday for the Fourth of July.

But the doors will be wide open at hospital emergency rooms.

All of the firecrackers lit this time of year keep the emergency room
at St. Joseph’s hospital busy.

“I’ve seen fingers amputated because
of M-80s and some of the explosive devices,” said emergency-room
physician Erik Gauharou.

“That’s probably some of the worst that we’ve
seen around here.”

Gauharou said the staff sees all kinds of fireworks injuries. “First- and second-
and degree burns. The worst-case scenario is that we always seem
to see blast injuries to the hands as well.”

Those aren’t the only reasons people come to the ER for on July 4. “Probably the most common things we see are exposure to
heat,” said Gauharou. “People being outdoors too long or drinking
alcohol.”

Gauharou said it seems things have become busier since Arizona
began allowing sales of fireworks. “I don’t have the
exact statistics. Since we did start allowing some of the ‘quote-
unquote’ safer fireworks, we’ve started seeing more burn injuries
than anything.

“It’s mostly some of the illegal fireworks like the
firecrackers and the M-80s that seem to cause the most severe injuries.”

Gauharou’s advice is to use common sense this holiday. Don’t drink
too much alcohol, stay out of the heat as much as possible and
leave the fireworks shows to the professionals.

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ERs busy during Fourth of July holiday