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July Fourth injury tally includes blast wound, burns and a ruptured eardrum

The Wholesale Fireworks store just across the Butler County line from Sedgwick County on U.S. 400 has plenty of big, booming fireworks — that aren’t legal in Wichita.
The Wholesale Fireworks store just across the Butler County line from Sedgwick County on U.S. 400 has plenty of big, booming fireworks — that aren’t legal in Wichita. File photo

Wichita-area emergency rooms reported more than three dozen fireworks injuries over the Independence Day holiday, including one patient who ruptured an eardrum by standing too close to an explosion.

Wesley Healthcare handled 25 fireworks injuries between June 27 and July 4 at its emergency centers in Wichita and Derby, said Andi Easterly, communications coordinator for Wesley.

Wichitans shoot off illegal fireworks despite a warning of a crackdown and a $250 fine.

Via Christi Health saw a dozen fireworks-related injuries, said hospital spokeswoman Roz Hutchinson.

That brings the total so far to 37 injuries — down from 65 last year — although more injuries still could be reported.

The majority of injuries were burns to the arm, hand, back, groin or other areas from Roman candles, sparklers, mortar shells and various fireworks, said Easterly, the Wesley spokeswoman. All but two patients were treated and released.

Wesley also handled a blast injury to a lower extremity and one patient with debris in the eye from a "camo cracker," Easterly said.

The dozen patients treated at Via Christi suffered various burns, a hospital official said. One was admitted with a ruptured eardrum.

Every year, law enforcement and medical officials warn July Fourth revelers about handling fireworks with caution. This year, the city of Wichita also promised to crack down on residents who use illegal fireworks.

In the Kansas City region this Fourth of July, at least two people required an amputation because of fireworks injuries, according to the Kansas City Star. More than 90 people warranted hospital attention, the newspaper reported.

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