116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Despite Cedar Rapids’ and Iowa City’s ordinances prohibiting fireworks within city limits, hospitals say they still saw injuries from the July Fourth pastime in their emergency rooms over the holiday weekend.
Dozens of patients arrived in Eastern Iowa hospitals for treatment of burns, traumatic hand injuries and even blindness in one eye.
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics still is tallying the total from the weekend, but emergency room providers put the current estimate between 20 and 30 patients with fireworks-related injuries from Friday to Monday. At least five cases resulted in a trip to the operating room.
UIHC officials say the most common injuries were traumatic hand injuries, burns and eye injuries — including injuries that resulted in blindness in one eye, which happened “more than once” over the weekend.
“Very serious injuries occurred in both handlers and bystanders of fireworks,” UIHC officials said.
UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids reported five patients arrived at its emergency room with injuries related to fireworks between Friday and Monday.
Two people were treated for ash or a foreign body in an eye, and others received care for burns on their legs. Some patients were treated after fireworks struck their chests or arms.
Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids reported one patient with a burned hand related to fireworks or sparkler activity over the Fourth of July weekend.
An estimated 15,600 people were hospitalized with firework-related injuries in 2020, making it the most harmful year for Americans in the past 15 years, according to a report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The majority of those injuries — 66 percent — occurred between June 2 and July 21 of that year.
Injuries to hands and fingers due to misuse of fireworks were the most common appearance at the nation’s emergencies rooms this past year. Injuries to the head, face or ear region were the second most common injury, followed by injuries to the eyes as the third leading cause of injuries treated at a hospital.
Eighteen firework-related deaths occurred in 2020, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported.
In total, the agency reports 136 firework-related deaths occurred between 2005 and 2020.
According to UIHC officials, the most dangerous fireworks are mortar fireworks, which are tubes that can fire fireworks into the air. Mortar fireworks typically can be bought at roadside stands.
A medical examiner in Michigan announced earlier this week that a fireworks mortar blast killed a 24-year-old goalkeeper for the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team, the Associated Press reported.
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