Mater surgeon sees rise in hand injuries during holidays

01/Feb/2022     Mater Group

Over-confident DIYers are ending up in hospital as a result of home maintenance repairs going wrong over the holiday period, according to Mater plastic and reconstructive hand surgeon Dr Andrew Hadj.

Dr Hadj said his trauma surgery cases at Mater Private Hospital Brisbane had tripled to about 30 each week.

He said DIY dads juggling child-minding with home repair jobs, and fatigued workers in industries hit hard by the Omicron variant made up the bulk of the cases.

“With more families spending time at home, there’s been increased cases of crushed hands, nail gun injuries and amputated fingertips,” said Dr Hadj, a director of Plastic Surgery Queensland at Mater Private Clinic in South Brisbane.

The kitchen has been a popular place for lacerations and tendon injuries, he said.

“Often kids and family members try to be helpful by unloading the dishwasher, but run into trouble with sharp knives facing upwards,” he said.

“Avocados can cause tendon, nerve and arterial injuries with knives slipping into the hand when removing pips.”

Dr Hadj said patients often reported their injuries occurred while they were juggling maintenance repairs and trying to keep kids entertained during the school holidays.

He said lawn mower and chainsaw injuries were “very common”, with several patients having injuries such as sharp lacerations, crushes, and amputations. 

Dr Hadj urged people not to dislodge foreign objects from lawn mowers that were still active.

“Too often a piece of metal, wood or soft toy becomes lodged within the mower blades while the engine is still running. It appears the blades are locked and as soon as the item is removed, they spin at a significantly high rate and cause major hand trauma,” he said.

For 35-year-old Greenslopes painter Matt Kellaway, a dangerous fall through scaffolding resulted in a serious degloving injury to his triceps muscle. Degloving is when the top layers of skin and tissue are ripped from the underlying muscle, connective tissue, or bone.

Mr Kellaway sustained the injury on 11 January, at the construction site of a new townhouse.

“It cut right through – about a 15cm cut,” Mr Kellaway said.

Mr Kellaway who has an eight-year-old daughter said he had “a bit of a road to recovery” but was grateful to know his arm was able to be saved.

Dr Hadj said it was a timely reminder to always protect your hands by keeping gloves handy in the kitchen and workshop.

Common holiday injuries include:

  1. Fingers stuck in car doors and draws
  2. Cuts from picking up broken glass
  3. Lawn mower and chain saw amputations
  4. Nail gun misfiring
  5. Falls from roof tops or scaffolding




Public relations contacts

07 3163 6142