Tag Archive: medicine


Total Recall

Imagine being able to remember every minute detail of your life. You can recall what the weather was like, what you were reading or what you wore to the shops at any minute, any hour or any day stretching back decades. It sounds like some kind of parlour trick, but it’s actually a real and very rare medical phenomenon.

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Pre-Industrial Surgeries

Sam O’Nella Academy reminds us how awesome painkillers are!

Ring Avulsion

Recently the host of The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon, suffered a freak finger injury in his home. It’s called “ring avulsion.”

He specifically said to NOT search Google Images for it, but of course, my morbid curiosity won’t allow me to not look. And I’m telling you now, DON’T DO IT. DON’T.

JUST DON’T.

TRUST ME ON THIS ONE. I already did it for you. You’re welcome. If you ever want to enjoy wearing rings again, DON’T.

Basically what happens is, a sharp tug or pull on a ring can sever the skin. And the skin is the strongest part of the finger tissue. Once it’s broken, the ring continues to strip away the underlying muscle and soft tissue remarkably easily, leaving bare bone behind. The horrifying medical term used is “degloving.” Again, DON’T IMAGE SEARCH IT. You cannot un-see these pictures.

Apparently, it’s not uncommon: about 150,000 cases in the U.S. annually. It often happens to people who work around machinery, but other ways it can happen include jumping over chain-link fencing, or doing basketball slam dunks. But Jimmy’s accident happened in his own kitchen, when he tripped over a rag rug and caught his wedding band on the counter as he fell.

Now I never want to wear rings again. I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually, but not yet. There are a couple of things one can do to prevent ring avulsion:

  • Don’t wear rings. There’s a reason most hand surgeons don’t wear them; they’ve seen this injury too many times.
  • If you do wear rings, remove them before doing any kind of sports, construction work, moving heavy objects, or working with machinery.
  • Have a jeweler pre-cut your ring’s underside so it can break away more easily.
  • Wear a silicone ring. SafeRingz.com sells silicone wedding bands that look as shiny and metallic as gold or silver.

Jimmy Fallon’s injury was Class II, meaning the blood vessel was crushed, but the entire finger didn’t deglove. But he was still very lucky; most ring avulsions simply result in amputation of the finger. Jimmy’s finger was saved through six hours of microsurgery to replace the crushed blood vessel with one taken from his foot. He then spent then next ten days in the ICU. Recovery time is around eight weeks, and he will probably have issues with that finger for the rest of his life.

Follow The Blood

This fascinating video follows a blood donation as it is donated, processed, and delivered to a patient in need. The video was recorded at the state of the art Blood Donor Center of City of Hope hospital in Duarte, California.

Meet Your Microbes

In this TED talk, microbiologist Jonathan Eisen tells us about how our bodies are covered in a sea of microbes — both the pathogens that make us sick and the “good” microbes, about which we know less, that might be keeping us healthy.

Beware the Periodontist…

I've been pulling a lot of extra shifts at the lake recently.  A co-worker, Arlene, let her dentist talk her into gum surgery. This is an extremely healthy woman.  Works out all the time, eats right, her teeth look perfect.  The rest of us all seriously doubt she really needed it.  Anyway, they do one side at a time.  She got the first side done maybe 2-1/2 weeks ago, and she's already been sick twice, and this time it's serious.  She went to the ER on Sunday (7/4) when her tongue started turning black.  Turns out she has a viral infection and a bacterial infection.  BTW, the dentist didn't see fit to give her any antibiotics.  She should have been on them from the day before the surgery.  My boss there was talking on the phone to Arlene's husband, and he just went on and on about how great their dentist is supposed to be, and oh well yeah maybe we should ask about antibiotics, and no I've never heard that gum infections can cause heart failure…  She's scheduled for the other side next Tuesday the 12th.  He is actually okay with her going.  Boss kept trying to tell him that no doctor worth his salt would touch a patient with a raging infection, especially one he was responsible for!

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