Dozens of patients hospitalized with fireworks related injuries over weekend

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was a painful weekend Independence Day revelers. Dozens of patients had to be treated by metro emergency rooms following weekend celebrations gone wrong.

At the University of Kansas Hospital's Burnett Burn Unit, the youngest patient treated was a five-year-old who doctors say was struck by gravel after a firework exploded.

At Research Medical Center a 32-year-old man is being treated after first responders say the man's hand was blown off after setting off a half-stick of dynamite.

Those are just two of the more than 30 patients who sought treatment this weekend for injuries related to fireworks.

"It just went off and this big cloud of smoke and this bang was in the middle," a witness told FOX 4 of the blast at 36th and Bales.

"The smoke cleared and we just saw a guy sitting on the ground, like not moving at all," the witness said.

The Kansas City Fire Department responded to at least eight scenes this weekend where a person was injured by fireworks, including the one on 36th and Bales where the half-stick of dynamite blew a man's hand right off.

"They lit it off in the street and didn't hear it go off or didn't see it go off, went to go investigate and then it went off," KCFD spokesman James Garrett said.

He described injuries so severe in several cases that he said they were similar to war wounds, and present a problem that is seldom seen outside of combat. Injuries that Dr. Dhaval Bhavsar, Co-Director of the University of Kansas Hospital's Burnett Burn Unit, says he's come to expect year after year on the Fourth.

"Life changing injuries like losing a finger or having a really bad burn on the hand or face will be definitely, definitely life altering," said Dr. Bhavsar.

The hospital treated more than 28 of the metro's burn patients this weekend. Hands, Dr. Bhavsar said, are the most commonly casualty and men are the most common victims.

"But they were not just doing one sparkler, they were doing five sparklers or doing the whole box and it went off because that is just a lot of gun powder or material there. So that is how they got the burn," said Dr. Bhavsar.

Family of the man who lost his hand says he is now in stable condition. The University of Kansas hospital says they also dealt with dozens of poison control calls, including several where kids put cherry bombs in their mouth, a firework that contains arsenic.

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