Despite bombs bursting in the air celebrating Independence Day, it was an average weekend for the Mercy Hospital emergency room and Washington Ambulance personnel with no major fireworks injuries or heat-related illnesses.
Clinical supervisor Amy Lanemann said the Mercy emergency room (ER) treated 115 patients over Saturday and Sunday of the holiday weekend.
“We normally average 107 patients in the ER on a normal weekend,” she said. “It was steady. We were slightly busier, but there was no rash of patients and no major injuries.”
Lanemann added of the 115 ER visitors there were only two fireworks-related burns and both patients were treated and released.
“One patient was a 4-year-old who got burned on the leg from a firework spark,” she said. “The second, was a burn to a 29-year-old’s finger.”
The ER staff also treated a third burn victim who sustained injuries to their face and arms when pouring gasoline on a fire.
“We treated a snake bite on July 3,” Lanemann said. “We also had a few injuries from people jumping into pools and motor vehicle accidents and overdoses. We also treated a patient who got sick from eating mushrooms.”
The mushrooms were food grade and not in any way drug related, she said.
Lanemann explained the lack of visitors to the ER may not truly reflect the total number of fireworks-related injuries over the weekend.
“A lot of people may have gone to an urgi-care or just treated themselves at home,” she said.
Washington Area Ambulance District Chief Terry Buddemeyer said the potentially dangerous holiday weekend was an average one for the crews on duty as well.
“We did have some refusals,” Buddemeyer said. “There were no fireworks-related calls. There may have been underlying issues complicated by it, but nothing specifically related to the heat. Overdoses were about the same.”
Buddemeyer agreed there may have been other injuries that EMS was not called for, or called and not needed.
Now that the first real heat and humidity of summer have settled in, calls may begin to rise, he said.
“It’s been pretty good,” Buddemeyer said. “I guess people are staying hydrated and staying inside so far.”
The next big challenge for EMS will be preparing for the Washington Town & Country Fair that begins Aug. 7.
“We are working on Fair staffing and will start meetings soon,” Budddemeyer said. “It shouldn’t be much different from previous years. We just copy and paste and change the dates. It’s not our first rodeo.”