Tshwane fire fighters remove stuck rings from patient’s fingers, Pretoria
Tshwane fire fighters removed stuck rings from a patient’s fingers on Saturday, 31 July 2021 and again on Tuesday, 3 August 2021, at around 01h00 at the Kalafong Hospital emergency room. “A man about 40 year’s old walked into City of Tshwane Station 5 in Wonderboom, Pretoria, just after 19h00, requesting assistance with the removal of rings that were stuck on his fingers. Acting Company Commander Dawie Naude immediately requested backup from Station 15 in Innesdale for assistance with removing the rings stuck on the man’s fingers. Leading fire fighters Riaan Taute and Stephen Albertyn responded for backup and found a male patient with two rings stuck on fingers that were heavily swollen. The rings had apparently been stuck on his fingers for three days before he came to ask for help”, said Charles Mabaso, deputy chief: public information and liaison officer at the City of Tshwane Emergency Services.
“The rings where homemade, one made out of copper steel and the other out of stainless steel keyring holders soldered together. The fire fighters started to set up our rotary tool, which is a smaller version of a grinding tool, but with higher speeds and the ability to make thinner cuts fitted with a blade suitable for the work at hand”, said Mabaso.
“When assisting in emergency operating rooms, fire fighters normally use water from a Ringers Lactate drip with an admin set to cool down the ring while cutting. A thin stick would be pushed under the ring to protect the finger but the circumstances were a bit different. They had to improvise by using a plastic bottle with water and made a small hole in the cap that worked quite nicely.”
A thin stick could not be pushed underneath the ring because the man’s finger was heavily swollen. “We improvised by using the rotary tool’s key that had a thin enough end to protect the skin from injury,” said Leading fire fighter Taute.
Leading fire fighter Albertyn started the cutting process, which is a very precise procedure as the blade of the rotary tool comes very close to the skin while cutting at high speeds. Any movement from the patient by either pulling away due to the ring getting hot or the patient getting nervous could end in serious injury. “It was therefore important for us to keep the patient calm and relaxed while also cooling and cutting inch by inch,” said the two fire fighters.
The rings were successfully removed from the patient’s fingers and he was very relieved after the procedure. The whole procedure took about 20 minutes and the man was advised to visit the emergency room as it looked like he already had an injury to the skin and might have had an allergic reaction to the copper.
Station 15 is one of the City of Tshwane Emergency Services Department stations with special operations capabilities and has become synonymous with removing rings at emergency rooms around the City of Tshwane. They are often called out to do removals as was the case again on Tuesday, 3 August 2021, at around 01h00 at the Kalafong Hospital emergency room where leading fire fighters Riaan Taute and Ludwig Goldschagg cut a ring from a male patient that just got engaged over the weekend but the ring was a little bit small and got stuck.
The doctor on duty tried to remove the ring with a side cutter but was unsuccessful and asked for assistance from Station 15. “On arrival we found a male patient with a stainless steel ring stuck to his finger. We quickly started with the removal and successfully removed the ring without any injury to the patient and he was discharged straight after,” said Taute.
Source: Charles Mabaso, deputy chief: public information and liaison officer, City of Tshwane Emergency Services