More than 35 victims of fireworks-related injuries reported; at least 2 lose a hand

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AUBURN, Wash. -- There were 18 people recovering from fireworks-related injuries at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center on Tuesday.

Those people came into the hospital in a three-hour span.

Two lost their hands after two separate fireworks accidents that happened only 30 minutes apart. Both injuries happened in Auburn near the Muckleshoot casino.

The spent fireworks litter the field where a man and a teen were celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks, when something went wrong, and both lost their hands within 30 minutes of each other.

“It seems like every year we see one or two more severe injuries,” said Kelly Tyson, a spokesperson for the Valley Regional Fire Authority.

Trauma doctors know the dangers of these types of injuries.

“Unfortunately, hand injuries can be really devastating. The device can explode in your hand and cause significant damage, which often requires amputation of digits or even the whole hand,” said Dr. Eileen Bulger, chief of the Trauma Unit at Harborview.

Hospitals throughout Puget Sound report patients coming in with burns or injuries associated with fireworks.

Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett said it has seen 17 patients so far, six of those children.

St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma had four fireworks-related cases overnight.

However, the people with the most serious injuries are treated at the trauma center at Harborview.

“We’ve had a couple of people lose their hand completely and then we’ve had some who have lost some digits but maintained others,” added Bulger.

Just in the last week, Harborview has seen about 30 people with injuries associated to fireworks, half of what they saw last year at this time.

Every year, Harborview says it prepares for the influx of injuries it expects during the Fourth of July.

“We up staff significantly and we increase the number of operating rooms running. We increase the staff for the emergency department,” said Bulger.

Hospital officials say they may still see more people come in with fireworks-related injuries over the next few days, as people finish using up the last of their fireworks.

Fireworks are banned in several cities, including Seattle and Bellevue.

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