A few years ago, it seemed like every urgent care clinician had a story about a nail gun injury. This year’s unexpected menace, however, is the humble avocado. Avocado consumption in the United States has risen 250% since 2002—which is great news for growers, but apparently a danger to unsuspecting aficionados. The problem isn’t disease or contamination, according to a Northwestern University emergency room physician quoted in a recent Advisory Board Daily Briefing. It’s operator error. Patients come in with lacerations and other injuries resembling stab wounds, flummoxed by the smooth skin and irregular, oblong shape of the fruit. It’s not just a U.S. phenomenon, either. The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons has recommended that a safety warning be placed on avocados in retail settings. While the “trend” is probably not something you’ll need to schedule an in-service to address, the fact that ED physicians and surgeons are taking notice of the increase in related visits may serve as a reminder that many patients don’t realize urgent care centers are capably staffed and supplied to stitch or otherwise treat these types of injuries. Consider posting signage—even reference “avocado hand” as an attention-grabber, perhaps—that explains the extent of illness and injuries your staff is prepared to treat.

 

Beware: As Avocado Consumption Rises, So Does Incidence of ‘Avocado Hand’
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