Holiday-related injuries keep Utah emergency departments busy on Christmas Day

Posted at 3:42 PM, Dec 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-25 23:28:50-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Monday was one of the busiest Christmases emergency departments in Utah have seen in years, and many of the injuries are holiday related.

“Today is Christmas Day and it's busy as usual,” said Nathan Finnerty, an Emergency Physician at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.

On the holiday, patients are filling almost every room in IMC's emergency department.

“It’s crazy busy,” Finnerty said.

On Christmas, doctors like Nathan Finnerty see unique injuries tied to the holidays—like opening presents.

“Anytime that there's a sharp object involved near your hands, watch out, because you're definitely going to run into problems at Christmas because everyone is tearing through the wrapping paper too fast, they're going to cut through fingers,” Finnerty said.

Once you get through the wrapping paper, the danger doesn't end. Some presents are packaged in pesky plastic.

“When you break that stuff it's just like having a shard of glass, so people cut themselves left and right. It's always on the hands, often with kids, but mostly it's the parents” Finnerty said.

The glitz and glamour of Christmas decorations can also be painful.

“So like on 'Home Alone' when they step in the window and smash the glass, yeah, ornaments are around, you can step on them [and get] shards in your feet,” Finnerty said.

Doctors see deep cuts or even children swallowing bits of a broken bulbs during the holidays. Some of the most serious injuries are thanks to a white Christmas and powering on the snow blower.

“You're going to take off fingers, you're going to rip off skin, you're going to mangle your hand and not have a happy holiday,” Finnerty said.

Doctors say some patients will take off an entire layer of skin off when they try to clear a clogged snow blower with their hands.

The most common injuries doctors saw this Christmas were falls from people slipping on ice. But no matter the injury:

“Nobody wants to come here, including us... so we're going to make things happen and get people feeling better,” Finnerty said.

To add insult to injury—literally—Christmas falls on a Monday this year, which is the busiest day of the week for most emergency departments.