2012 ended with a little mishap in the kitchen. I sliced off a small piece of my thumb with a mandolin slicer. Wow, those things work great-- and not just on veggies. So on New Year’s Eve our afternoon was spent at an Urgent Care getting my thumb wrapped up by a very nice doctor who obviously specializes in something else entirely, and our evening was spent at the ER getting the first ridiculous mess corrected.
You know you're in trouble when the ER nurse and doctor bust out laughing at the handiwork of your Urgent Care doctor.
This is the part I sliced completely off, nice and clean. Clearly stitches were not an option. Thank goodness the mandolin was set at 1/8" and not 1/4" right?
You're welcome for not posting my actual bloody thumb. If you want to see one, Google away... there are plenty posted out there.
Why share this?
According to the ER, this often happens around the holidays when people are cooking more (you know, those of us who rarely cook otherwise) and in the summer when we're pruning in the garden. And some of us here are metalsmiths who use jewelers' saws and metal shears year round. So it seems right to share a few tips, obvious as they may seem, since they would have helped me.
Tip #4: Listen to the doctor. As in listen actively, critically, and logically.
At least I knew right away to see a doctor. We chose a nearby Urgent Care because the issue seemed minor / routine but also urgent, as in continuing to bleed. I'm not saying that all Urgent Care facilities would mess this up. I'm just saying mine did.
These are some red flag quotes from urgent care personnel to me:
Doctor: "This one is a real bugaboo."
Nurse: "I don't mind a lot of blood, that doesn't bother me, but I don't like to see cut skin."
Doctor: "Stitches are not an option, so the only way to stop the bleeding is with a compression bandage.
This will be a real headache for 3-4 weeks."
Me: "How do I know if the bandage is too tight and cutting off circulation?"
Doctor: "It's a fine line. You can come back tomorrow if there is a problem."
Nurse: "You want to be really careful changing the dressing and keep an eye on it so you don't bleed out."
Me: "Bleed out??"
Doctor: "If the bandage falls off while you're sleeping, your bed will look like a crime scene when you wake up."
So I did listen with a bit of healthy skepticism.
Tip #5: It's usually not good to cut off circulation to a body part.
(Careful with this tip. There are obviously some injuries that require a tourniquet.)
The doctor wrapped my thumb very tightly with some gauze and nine band-aids, then sent me home. It felt tight but didn't hurt much at first. After about two hours my entire hand, all the fingers, wrist, and arm up to the elbow started throbbing. It just felt so tight.
We went to the ER to get a second opinion. Thank goodness.
Tip #7: Just because a doctor is nice doesn't mean he knows what to do. Be your own advocate. Question everything. If it seems wrong, it might be.
Well that's my Happy New Year post, folks :-D Everyone have a very safe, healthy, and happy 2013!
Disclaimer: This post is based on subjective experience and some Google searches. I'm no doctor and this is not offered as medical advice. Please do your own research to determine any course of action. These are my opinions based on an isolated occurrence that may not accurately reflect the medical skills of those involved.
I love this post and have my own similar story to tell. I woke up one morning with three painful, red, swollen lumps in my armpit. Went to a walk-in clinic like you described. The doctor told me they were spider bites. In my armpits?! In bed?!
1/3/2013 06:23:26 am
OMG, I'm so glad everything turned out ok.
1/3/2013 10:28:09 am
Fist of all I'm glad it was not the complete finger and you are OK.
1/3/2013 10:56:18 am
I did almost the very same thing with a mandoline called a V-slicer, which works even better than a regular mandoline. It took hours and lots of ice to stop the bleeding. The little finger was sliced very neatly, and I was able to superglue it back together. The ring finger was something else entirely. I had sliced off a good chunk of the nailbed and an area that was up to the phalange. Luckily I didn't slice any tendons, but don't know how I managed to avoid it.
Stacie in NC
11/19/2018 12:40:26 am
I just did this to my finger this weekend... My boyfriend is an electrician and said on the job site they use electrical tape directly on the skin. I put it on and it stopped the insane amount of bleeding.. I cut the tape off the next day and have started using Band-Aids. It hurts so bad. Was wondering what the doctors suggested you do for care at home. It looks so gross seeing that chunk of flesh missing.😪 Glad I'm not alone in my plight!
12/2/2019 09:23:40 am
Hi my Husband was so Impressed in Sams watching the guy
1/3/2013 04:01:53 pm
Oh for G-d's sake, Sue. I went between weak-kneed and laughing. (Sorry, don't mean to laugh at your misfortune and injury). It is amazing to me that an urgent care was so inept. I work in a hospital, and know most smart doctors, still you would think this would be basic urgent care 101! I once stabbed myself with a butcher knife right in the fleshy area between thumb and forefinger. When I turned my hand upside down, blood poured out. It's pretty scary how much the hand can bleed. Needed 2 stitches that time. Wishing you a quick healing. Plus there was some very good advise in your posting. Happy New Year!
1/4/2013 06:51:38 am
My spouse and I both injured our thumbs similarly when we were preparing a bushel of corn for freezing by removing the kernels from the cobs. We didn't go for help, but spent considerable time with our thumbs in the air above our heads - - I think he also drank a bit of alcoholic meds. I hope you will be OK soon. I was teaching piano at the time and kept having to wipe blood off the piano keys. It made quite an impression on my students!
11/29/2013 10:07:06 pm
I actually just did this with my middle finger. i raised my hand above my head for 30 minutes while applying pressure and then the bleeding stopped. and now its wrapped in gauze. remember to elevate still hurts though
12/30/2013 12:39:37 pm
One year later, I did the same thing on my thumb---not using the hand guard on the mandolin. The hospital told me that three people had come in with the same injury the day before. I got 3 stitches and hope it will heal. I don't think these mandolins are safe!
12/30/2013 02:05:04 pm
KC take care-- and it will heal. I know, it's crazy, this happens to people all the time!
1/2/2014 03:40:30 pm
I had a Mandoline accident on Christmas! It still hurts
You guys. I get SO many views on this post. You just know most are reading this with their dripping fingers held way up over their heads. My husband still uses the mandolin with no guard half the time. I will not use it at all. Haven't used it since last year in fact. You are welcome to leave your story here, and be safe!
2/17/2014 11:10:10 am
Haha! I AM reading this with my right hand elevated and pressure on my middle finger to stop the bleeding... Doh!
5/14/2014 10:24:47 am
2/2/2015 02:16:37 pm
2/22/2016 03:26:50 pm
4/6/2016 06:31:57 pm
5/7/2016 05:05:37 pm
Ring finger same. Cried like a baby.
4/25/2015 01:15:22 am
Lol, I'm reading this with my thumb hoisted above blog head, just as you predicted!!!
4/28/2016 04:24:43 pm
9/10/2016 08:10:52 pm
Me too! Sheesh. It's at least comforting to know im not alone.
5/22/2016 07:41:10 pm
The guard doesn't always help - trying to convince DH to go somewhere. He took a good chunk out of his pinky. Not exactly sure how he managed to get it under the guard b
7/10/2016 11:55:21 pm
Same here... pinky finger
1/13/2014 05:23:37 pm
This happened to me last Wednesday!!! Same exact place. Looked like a piece of ahi tuna on the cutting board!
2/16/2014 10:44:39 pm
This just happened to me and it is nice to know I am not alone! I took the mandoline guard off because I was slicing a zucchini lengthwise and it would not stay on the mandoline. It was a borrowed mandoline anyway so I had never used it before...
4/11/2014 01:10:45 pm
"If the bandage falls off while you're sleeping, when you wake up your bed will look like a crime scene."
4/24/2014 09:26:01 am
I just sliced into my right ring finger about 3 days ago. Luckily, I didn't manage to slice anything off, but I did knick the tip pretty good. It took a little while to stop bleeding too. I was actually tearing up and felt like I was getting sick while I was trying to find the band aids. After about an hour, it was still bleeding through the band aids even, so I broke down, cleaned it up the best I could, and added some super glue which seemed to do the trick. I've been keeping a bandaid on it to help protect it from me tapping it on things and typing. I'm currently using my middle finger to type, which is more challenging than you might think, but I think I am getting the hang of it LOL. The only thing I am worried about now is the pain and numb/tingling feeling at the spot of the cut. Do I need to see the doctor?
5/3/2014 04:17:24 pm
This happened to me 7 days ago i will pray for each and everyone of you god bless and you too Sue. Be careful guies.
5/14/2014 05:02:50 pm
I did the same thing tonight. I was slicing zucchini and I SHOULD HAVE cut the darn thing in at least half before trying to slice it. But, I just wanted to get the job done, so I decided to slice it without the guard until I got it down far enough. Well, my mandolin is still new (it's only been used a few times) and it's VERY sharp! The slicing was going so quickly that I didn't realize how short the zucchini had gotten - until I took a giant, fingernail sized chunk out of my middle finger right next to my fingernail.
2/21/2015 01:19:36 pm
Wow, Juliet, hope that healed up. Did the same thing... unfortunately the pad on the initial bandaid stuck to the wound when it finally stopped bleeding. Couldn't get the darn bandaid off, even after soaking in soapy water for 3 hours! Had to go to urgent care. Screamed like a little kid when the doctor pulled the bandage off (after soaking it in lidocain to numb it... yeah, that worked... uhhhh, NOT!!!) Wrapped up in a huge bandage for a month, the cut healed, still swells and hurts periodically after 6 months. Can't hold a pen properly anymore.
1/6/2016 04:16:13 pm
Juliet, did the gauze stick? I too am a nurse and refused to go to the ER for something they wouldn't be able to help! I cut the pad of my thumb completely off and I held a paper towel then applied gauze and did a pressure dressing, the next day when I took the dressing down I couldn't get the gauze completely off... I have cute away as much of it as I can but I'm not really sure what to do... I keep applying bacitracin and placing a bandaid on it to protect it. Will the gauze eventually come off?
9/17/2018 10:43:32 pm
I'm so sorry. I can't help laughing when you said they just WATCHED... i'm glad I was alone when I cut my ring finger tonight. It bled a lot and I could see my boyfriend trying to help... I've knicked an artery in my finger before, it wasn't that bad this time. Hope you're doing better.
6/8/2014 01:20:31 pm
Just lost half my thumb on my brand new mandolin. I've finally stopped the bleeding and I'm really hoping that I won't have to go to the ER. :(
8/24/2014 03:10:40 pm
Thanks for the posts. I too was the victim a a mandolin amputation. Index finger right hand. First time (and last time) using it. I wrapped it in paper towels quickly so my 10 year old grand daughter would not be alarmed. Applied pressure and elevated. I looked for the finger tip but could not find it. Mine was a bleeder. Bled thru quickly. Kept wrapping more paper towels around old ones. I managed to clean up mess. As I tossed the mandolin in the trash I saw on the bottom side of the chopper my fingertip.It looked like a pearl. I pearl I can live without. I do wish I had put a non stick dressing directly on the wound first. When the bleeding finally stopped , I removed the now stuck paper towel and the bleeding started again. I then slapped on a bandaid ,rewrapped it and reapplied pressure. When bleeding slowed I made a dressing/guard out of a panty liner and bandaids. Saved myself $200 minus $9.97 (the cost of the mandolin).
3/13/2015 07:22:06 am
reading all the comments as i sit with my bandaged pinkie ... another mandoline attack!! I happily gave that thing to my neighbor and made her promise to always use the guard!! I had to go to the urgent care to get the bleeding to stop ... now I am just praying the throbbing stops. ;)
3/18/2015 03:12:47 pm
Too bad I found this post today! I sliced my finger yesterday using my new mandolin for the first time. Went to the ER because cut was very ugly, basically corner of my thumb and nail gone. They could not put stitches so dr dressed up my wound to stop the bleeding. I have to leave it on for 2 days and remove to clean the wound. I'm scared to see that thing again! Wish me luck!
3/30/2015 04:15:39 pm
BEWARE: Over 6 months later, the end of my finger still has no feeling, is flat and the fingernail grew back oddly. This finger is always getting injured because of the lack of feeling. PLEASE use caution and ALWAYS use guard when using a mandolin. Good luck to everyone!
3/11/2016 10:26:33 pm
Used a new mandolin for the first time...won't do that again..going back to the knife. Cut the tip of my ring finger on my right hand...wow it was bleeding like crazy read all your posts ..did the paper towel..then my husband tried to out a bandaid on...oh my god it hurt...I screamed and ran to the bathroom to put gauze and bandaid on..not sure if it is still bleeding..getting the tegadem at Walgreens my husband is getting it. Gees!! Thanks guys I will see how this goes
4/1/2016 10:43:06 pm
Why do these Christmas Mandolins keep attacking?
4/20/2016 12:15:56 pm
Oh man. I sliced off the tip of my right ring finger with a mandoline three days ago. It still REALLY hurts. For anyone else reading this and struggling to stop the bleeding, what finally worked for me (2 hours of elevating and applying pressure did not work) was a powder called WoundSeal that I found at CVS. It stung at first, but it stopped the bleeding right away. So glad I found it. Happy healing, everyone!
5/7/2016 05:34:36 pm
Ha I got a good laugh at these as I am currently sitting with my bandaged ring finger. All because I wanted to start my day off healthy. With an apple. A freaking apple. And don't ask why I eat my apples sliced horizontal. They just taste better that way but any I was using the slicer and the guard just wasn't cutting it for me. No pun intended. I didn't know how to use it and it was just getting in the way. So I went the retarded route and used it without it. With freshly-washed hands. Mhmmmm slippery. So I was slicing it and it got to the point where I was about halfway and the apple was too wide. So I did what anyone else would do. I squished the apple into place. Not knowing it would make the slicing process even harder. So as I went for the slice it just wouldn't budge so at my last push, I tightened my grip and BOOM. Sliced my right finger. I didn't realize how bad it was cut as I ran it under running water. That hurt like a mother but I still didn't look at it as I was trying to be strong. And the thing about me is whenever I'm hurt or something goes down, you won't hear a peep out of me. So literally I was dead quiet as I was technically bleeding out running around the kitchen looking for more paper towels and more. After realization hit me that I couldn't fix this myself I ran to my sisters room mid-tears. Tip of the day: don't regularly wake up your sister with alarming news or when something actually happens, it won't be too alarming. So basically I woke her up. She blankly bore into me. Fell back asleep. Shoot. I knew she wouldn't believe me unless I showed her so since the bleeding appeared to have stopped I peeled back the freaking paper towels. The. Freaking. Paper. Towels. Hurt like a b*tch and started to bleed. But I didn't know as I showed here. As she opened her eyes, realization hit me and the first thing she said was "woah get that out my face its dripping". I couldn't look at it but I was utterly confused until I realized by peeling back the paper towel, I basically fu*ked up. Three more times too. But long story short here I am gauzed up hand raised to the gods and finger full of throbs. But good thing I only cried about four times.
8/27/2017 09:13:49 pm
It healed guys 🤗
1/4/2017 02:09:18 pm
1/29/2017 11:46:31 pm
So I am sitting here with my thumb taped up with gause. For the second time in a month. Yep I didnt learn the first time but the second had the mandoline set for the 1/4 so im leaving this gause on for atleast 2 days first time took 12 hours to stop and that was set for 1/8. It aint to bad slight pain in the thumb only and I guess I havnt learned my lesson fully cause I finished using said mandoline to make a very delicious dinner and then washed it and put it away. But I did use the guard and will from now on its just to good at its job!
7/14/2017 10:10:43 pm
How long did you keep your finger covered for? Last Saturday (5 days ago) I had the sane injury. I change my bandage (Telfa pads) twice a day And it's healing just fine. I forgot to ask the Dr, how long should I keep covering it for? Thanks
8/27/2017 08:11:39 pm
Glad I found this page. I'm in my second mandolin injury in two months (yes I'm a very slow learner). I injured the left little finger twice. This last time, I took the tip of the finger and part of the nail bed off. I got two mandolins different styles as gifts. The first one I used without the guard. A very bad mistake. Cut into the side of the finger. It healed pretty rapidly. This time I am in a lot of pain. Went to get the Vaseline gauze out of the wound. The PA said she wanted it to be uncovered and I think she is crazy. They put a cover on after I asked for it and I guess I will have to shell out more to my regular Dr. to re-dress it. Hopefully I won't have lasting problems.
I just did this Monday. Went to the urgent care facility and their nurse practitioner decided I needed stitches. Eight! She had a hard time numbing my thumb and an even harder time getting the sutre in the right place. After each stick, I would bleed terribly to the point of her gloves sticking to my skin and the thread. She went through three gauze kits and four saline rinse syringes. I was so thankful when she was done. My problem now is that my thumb hurts horribly if I don't have ice around it and the pain medication doesn't work unless I take advil with it. I have to trade out ice packs throughout the night. Anyone know why the thumb would hurt SO bad? I tried to take the bandage off yesterday and thought I was going to start convulsing from the pain. I have to clean it tonight and am pretty nervous. Any suggestions would be welcomed.
12/23/2018 10:30:07 pm
Jeez well... Here it is around Christmas 2018 and I had my first injury involving a mandolin. Took half of my nail off and a layer of skin. That's the first and last time I use that thing!! Wish my mom had thrown it out. It was bleeding a lot. I put so much pressure on it... Dad stopped it by layering two bandaids around it. I just really hope that the nail grows back. :( the nail bed is so sensitive .. Can't put it in water. Urghhhh.
9/10/2019 09:04:03 am
That damn mandolin! I am a violinist and slice the tip of my first finger off on Saturday. Had to play Sunday afternoon....bleeding through the bandage and requiring scrambling for new fingerings. Going to have to cancel the next concert....
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Sue Lacy Wired
This began as a hobbyist's blog.
Over time it became a quest to support & connect metalsmiths around the globe who use foldforming techniques in their work.
See how it all