Canadian ER doctor, students invent a device for rings stuck on fingers

For Your Health

Dr. Kevin Spencer says procedures have been delayed because of stuck rings on swollen fingers

When an 88-year-old man showed up at the hospital in Dartmouth, N.S., Thursday, he’d been wearing his wedding ring for 40 years. And he went to the right place.

Instead of cutting it off, the emergency department doctor at Dartmouth General used a device invented by one of his colleagues to help temporarily decrease the swelling on the man’s finger. The physician was able to slide the ring off in minutes.

For Dr. Kevin Spencer, a solution to stuck rings is long overdue. He said he sees patients with stuck rings in the ER at least once a week.

“Most operations require jewelry to be removed,” he said. “It’s because of a couple of reasons, but one of the most common reasons is because of the electricity used in cautery. And so rings and metallic devices can arc and cause burns and sparks, that kind of stuff.”

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