May 11th, 2011
09:30 PM ET
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"It's a good thing you came in; the meat was hanging out."

There's no context in which those words portend well - especially not when they're uttered by a medical professional. In this instance, a physician assistant was snipping off the ninth and final stitch she'd sewn into my lidocaine-numbed index finger*, sliced nearly in two by a tumbler I was using to measure cocktail ingredients this past Saturday. Suddenly I felt like a dope for even having thought of toughing out this injury at home.

I place the blame for my hesitation squarely on Top Chef. It's no secret that professional chefs of both genders can be a rather macho lot, but their collective aversion to hospitalization for anything less dire than a limb amputation was brought to a boil on an episode wherein All-Star contestant Jamie Lauren was soundly derided for leaving the kitchen during service to get two stitches in her thumb.

Not only did her co-stars give her grief about the decision - the day of my injury, writer Carol Blymire tweeted, "Sliced two fingers on Greek yogurt lid an hour ago. Still bleeding. I probably need a stitch or two, don't I? #iblamejamielauren #stitch."

Journalist Catherine Gelera replied, "That was me yesterday after slicing my thumb open on a mandoline: "Do I pull a Jamie and get stitches?" (I didn't.) #baller." Then the very physician assistant who was treating my wound brought up the episode of her own accord. Her take - stitches are stitches, two or twelve doesn't matter; if you need them, you've hurt yourself badly and should take care it it.

Then again, the four of us may be avid cooks, but we're not on a restaurant line. Professional chefs are, and I say this with tremendous love and respect, often total nutbags when it comes to wound care. As chef Traci Des Jardins says in the video above, "Going to the hospital isn't an option in the middle of a busy service."

Not only can the kitchen not spare the manpower - it's an expensive proposition, especially for a cook who is likely to be uninsured. They've developed their own care regime, which several were more than happy to share when I posed the question on Twitter, "Kitchen folks – pro ways to accelerate cut healing? Not using index finger is hell on the wrist & other 4."

Alexander Svenne, chef and owner of Bistro 7 1/4 / @ChefAlex
"We use crazy glue. Duct tape for bandages"

Bill Fuller, chef of Big Burrito Restaurant Group / @chefbillfuller
"Had a Sous Chef last year cauterize a similar injury during service. Looked awful. Stopped bleeding, though!"

Brian Henry, private chef / @ChefBrianHenry
"Tattoo creams, vtamin e cream, crazy glue or cauterize it on the fly"

Ben Kramer, executive chef at the University of Winnipeg / @ChefUofW
"Guerrilla glue"

Lest that bit slip by, I'll reiterate. By "cauterize on the fly," the chef meant placing the open wound on a hot surface, such as a cast-iron skillet, to stop the bleeding and sear the injured skin shut. And yes – glue. A wounded chef in the middle of service may indeed stop, rinse the cut, pour on a disinfectant and squirt professional-grade glue into the wound, or bind it together with duct tape, and return to the line. Perhaps consider the next time you're a tad cranky at the lag between apps and entrees that your cook may indeed be undergoing outpatient surgery on the flattop.

With all that wear, tear and shedding of blood, chefs are also experts at coaxing injuries to heal faster. They're also not stingy with the shared knowledge. After I reiterated that I would not be fricasseeing any of my digits the Twitter hive mind offered a few less extreme solutions.

Robert Alexander, head baker of H & F Bread Co. / @robmalexander
"I used to swim year round. Found that exposure to pool water seemed to accelerate healing."

Morgan E. Robinson, sous-chef at REEF / @blqwaah
"Swim in the ocean. Also, neosporin."

Alexis Muermann, chef / @ladymuerm
"extra protein in the diet can speed wound healing. not sure how much more, but a protein drink/day wouldn't hurt"

Jitti Chaithiraphant,serial stagiaire / @cookinginvein
"use neosporin maximum strength pain relief. No alcohol /spicy food but lots of milk/water. Heal like magic."

Northern Spy Food Co., a New York City restaurant / @northernspyfood
"keep it greased up w Aquaphor and covered. Flesh ♥'s moisture, 'nomesayin'?"

As it happens, I was in and out of the emergency room within an hour, in monstrous pain, but Tweeting the entire time to assure my party guests that the soiree would be taking place. "Final tally – 9 stitches, and back to cooking shortly." As I was awaiting paperwork at the front desk a reply came from Jennifer Carroll, one of the toughest, coolest chefs to ever grace the Top Chef kitchen. "that's my girl," she wrote.

That took the sting away - even for just a second.

Previously - Burn, slice, sear – cooking is a dangerous business and Collateral damage – nicks, cuts, burns and scars

* A really gross picture of the wound if you want to see it.

Posted by:
Filed under: Cooking • Favorites • Injuries • Make • Restaurant News • Television • Top Chef


soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Canon D5000

    Thank goodness some bloggers can still write. My thanks for this article!!!

    November 28, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  2. lantai parket

    Remarkably well written post...

    November 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  3. Brent

    I stabbed my had with an oyster knife. I didn't go to the hospital, but I did make my boss pay for a tetanus shot.

    November 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  4. www.hotel-lauriersroses.com

    Very well executed piece of writing...

    October 22, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  5. EarlGrayHot

    Just for starters, severe injuries and wounds are unsanitary and expose diners to blood and -REALLY- SEARING YOUR OWN FLESH on the grill where you'll be doing my chops in a few minutes-I don;t think so! That is definitely unsanitary and very uncool. Plus, if you're injured on the job it's YOUR EMPLOYER"S responsibility to see you get treated-EMPLOYER foots the bill. Local health authorities should clamp down on such shenanigans right away. These people are idiots.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  6. JLW

    As a young child with separated/divorced parents. I sometimes, cooked. Splattered with hot bacon grease, sizable cuts from knives, burns from stove or hot utensils. I was lucky to live in an affluent neighborhood. Family doctor lived next door to the left. And a 30 year RN to the right. When I did go to the hospital, it was not from cooking incidents. Spent a lot of time in Private and Professional kitchens. Anyone that ever worked near me was never chastised for accidents. You must employ professionalism, compassion, respect and safety 24/7. For you guests also.

    May 18, 2011 at 6:12 am |
  7. The Witty One

    I like to pour a combo of salt and lemon juice on my cuts right before I sew them up. Makes me feel more like a man.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  8. Chef Axxgrinder

    If you don't have insurance like most of us in kitchens and your in the middle of service the quickest thing to do is grab the super glue and duct tape, after you get off your shift you head home clean the wound and apply more glue and for those of you that can take the pain........grab a needle and thread. Its just the way it is sometimes.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  9. TC

    I was a kid and ended up with liquid stitches aka dermabond or whatever they used back in the late 80s early 90s on my eyelid. I turned out perfectly fine, so yes super glue is ok but I'd still rather have it done in a hospital or doctors office setting than doing it on my own

    May 12, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
  10. leatherface

    When I tie up my up my victims (before I chainsaw them into chili pieces) they sometimes get cuts and scrapes from the restraints on their hands, wrists,ect. I find using crazy glue does a great job on stopping the bleeding. And there's absolutely no hint of the glue after they have been finely ground up and simmered in the family's special chili. after cutting the faces off of the victims, however, there's nothing like a few stiches to make that all important death mask. imagine using crazy glue to keep all those face pieces together while chasing around some recentally de-virginized teenage.hottie. now that's crazy! :)

    May 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  11. Donna

    I'm not a chef (I'm a nurse, actually), but the only times I've cut myself badly enough to need stitches was while cooking; once when cutting the tip off a pastry bag and once when tossing the lid of a can into the garbage. Somehow the lid flipped funny and sliced right across my thumb.

    I have used Super Glue on minor cuts. It stings a little bit but works beautifully!

    May 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  12. JBJingles@@

    Seriously, you run your chicken through the dishwasher before cooking??

    May 12, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • AleeD@JBJ

      Sure! How else would you sterilize it?

      Unless you're talking about a dishwasher named Steve, then ......ewww!

      May 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • @JBJingles

      No silly, that's how I par-broil it.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Jerv@JBJ

      When I grill my chicken, I like to put it in my Maytag washer first.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Happy Vegan@JBJ

      I have found a little dip in bleach not only kills the bacteria, but also improves the taste greatly!
      Who would want to eat chicken in the first place? It's terrible for your system, as the human body does not process meat, properly!

      May 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
      • JBJingles@Happy Vegan

        Ahhh, trying to poison me with bleach huh? And improving the flavor, don't think so. The article was about and my comment was about a cut to the finger in the kitchen and how to address it safely. Get over the chicken please.

        May 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
      • Dr. Deb@HappyVegan

        Yes, the human body DOES INDEED process meat properly, especially poultry. The human body is anatomically, physiologically, and biochemically PROGRAMMED to digest meat. It is essential to the (proper) function of our bodies, in fact. There are many nutrients found in meats for which there is NOT a plant-based substitute, no matter what you have been told.

        What the human body is not designed to process is already-processed meats. Natural meats, yes. All other sources of meats, no.

        May 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Jerv@Happy Vegan

      In my previous life as a restaurant manager, we used to rinse and sanitize all dishes and utensils in water with a little bleach. A question for you. Do you know of any books/online resouces about addressing the feasibility of feeding the worlds population on a vegetarian or vegan diet only?

      May 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  13. JBJingles

    Years ago I was prepping for a party for about 50 people, sliced my finger really bad and probably needed stiches, but didn't want to take the time to go to ER. So I cleaned it, wrapped it really, really tight, and put just one finger of a rubber glove over it. Did the trick just great. Cutting up 10 lbs of chicken and we lost power and the water...not fun but had a swimming pool to bring in water to rinse/wash with. Now I always keep rubber gloves in the kitchen just in case...

    May 12, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • svann

      You washed the chicken in swimming pool water? You didnt know kids urinate in the pool?

      May 12, 2011 at 11:32 am |
      • Jerv

        Well, if she does not have kids, nothing to worry about.

        May 12, 2011 at 11:34 am |
      • J.J.@Jerv

        Maybe the drunken neighbor came over and took a wiz in the pool...

        May 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
      • JBJingles@svann

        I believe I said I got some pool water (and took it to the kitchen) to rinse/wash (my hands)! Who washes raw chicken anyway????

        May 12, 2011 at 11:52 am |
      • @JBJingles

        Are you kidding me? You seriously don't rinse off/wash your raw chicken before preparing it? AH GOD.

        May 12, 2011 at 11:56 am |
      • JBJingles@Jerv

        And correct to you, no kids, locked up pool.

        May 12, 2011 at 11:58 am |
      • Jerv@JJ

        Maybe my dog jumped in for a swim and took a wiz.

        May 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
      • Jerv@JBJ

        Yeah I figured as much. Every place I have lived pools have to have a fence and locking entry. I think folks are getting washed confuse with rinse. Maybe they think you are litterally scrubbing with soap and water your chicken.

        May 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  14. Stinky

    Never trust a fart.

    May 12, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Jack Nicholson@Stinky

      Three Things To Remember When You're Old

      1. Never pass up a bathroom.
      2. Never waste a hard-on.
      3. Never trust a fart.

      May 12, 2011 at 11:33 am |
      • Stinky@Jack

        Yep, exactly, I shit my pants in an elevator one time by slippin' a fart..

        May 12, 2011 at 11:39 am |
      • jujubeans

        Number 2 is a good rule even if your young! <====3

        May 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • adam

      you should have used crazy glue...

      May 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  15. Quackles

    They should just bleed into the food. After all, a good chef puts themselves in their dishes.

    May 12, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  16. Ctorres

    I have worked in the ER in France as a MD:
    – French MD use local anesthesia when stitching unless there is just one stitch to do because the injection of the anesthetic is usually more painful than the stitch itself
    -I have never heard of the use of Krazy glue by trained medical professionals
    -So biological glue exists and are sometimes used especially for children
    -As some people have commented an open wound is unsanitary in the kitchen for the consumers and the individual being injured..

    May 12, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Dr. Deb

      You're in the medical field and have never "heard of" using crazy glue for wounds like this???
      We have more types now....Nexaband, Tissumend, and other brands....which are used in humans all the time. Chemically, they're all essentially the same thing, but they are marketed specifically as surgical adhesives. But how that even came about was that Krazy glue/Super glue etc (the types sold in hardware stores and WalMart, etc.) was originally developed specifically FOR medical wounds during the war (World War 2, I think?) for treated the less severe combat injuries out in the field.

      Yes, Krazy glue was used for medical purposes in the military BEFORE it was EVER sold to the general public as a household adhesive.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  17. Evil Grin

    Kat, was this video take before or after your own injury?

    If I remember correctly, wasn't that the same Top Chef season where another chef chopped part of their finger completely off and kept going? Hardcore.

    May 12, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Taken yesterday. And I don't recall a chop-off, but ewwwwww!

      May 12, 2011 at 11:32 am |
      • Evil Grin

        I think it was just the tip of the finger, but yeah, ew. I remember that because she said something about not going to the hospital because it was already gone, so there was no reason.

        May 12, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  18. svann

    1. Dont take advice from a reality tv show.
    2. Anyone serving customers should be more careful about bleeding into their food/drinks.
    3. Dont watch reality tv shows.

    May 12, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  19. The Witty One

    I don't thinik you are supposed to put the super glue IN the cut....you just sniff it until you are too messed up to care about the cut. At least, that's the way i've alwasy done it :)

    May 12, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Tommy Chong@The Witty One

      Dave's not here ....

      May 12, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  20. AleeD

    Working in the engineering industry for many years, I've learned that Super Glue is a staple (pun intended) in Machinists work areas & Service Tech's tool boxes – and not just for fixing inanimate objects. It's also used for closing cuts on the body. Depending on the level of trauma, it's a convenient fix for times when you aren't injured to the point of incapacity, have a job to do, and getting stitches can, with the help of that handy glue, can be put off 'til the whistle blows.

    I've had to use it on myself as well. While it stings like a b!otch, it did the job and I was not poisoned.

    May 12, 2011 at 8:07 am |
  21. Yummyburger

    Wow, food service workers are our country's unsung heroes. Fck our soldiers, that hungover dude cutting carrots with a bloody bandage I catch a glimpse of back in the kitchen is really the person I should be thanking for my freedom to eat overpriced food at a fancy restaurant! Praise the lord for food service workers and their unwavering dedication to their trade. God bless America! And God bless CNN for filling us ignorant Americans in on the heroes all around us, in every McDonald's, Outback and Applebee's across the land....

    May 12, 2011 at 2:08 am |
    • GastroDude

      People like you deserve the spit we put in your food.

      May 12, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • Goober Grape

      @Ybooger: You think that McDonald's, Outback and Applebee's are overpriced, fancy restaurants?

      @GastroDude: I agree with you completely.

      May 12, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • Jerv

      Your sarcasm is not lost on me however, you said "filling us ignorant Americans in" which means you just called yourself an ignorant American.

      May 12, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • Gidgit

      Wow, you have no idea. First off, the guys working at Outback, Applebee's, McDonald's, and all of your other favorite "fancy and overpriced" restaurants are far different than the people who work in real restaurants. The hours are long, the work is hard, and a great amount of skill is required.

      May 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  22. GastroDude

    When you're in the weeds, you have no time to get stitches. You're already pissed at yourself for getting cut, so you just want to get back on the line and keep cooking. My old chef used to joke (i hope he was joking) that whenever he cut himself, he'd just sear the wound on the flattop, cauterizing, and go back to work. Sure, a lot of it is about machismo, but really it comes from not wanting to let the customers, or more importantly, the other kitchen staff down. If I'm gone to get stitches, they're screwed.

    May 12, 2011 at 1:57 am |
  23. Glenn

    Currently a line cook at a popular neighborhood bistro in Chicago. Cut my thumb open with my pocket knife on the fly once. Probably should have gotten stitches because of how deep it was, but luckily the knife was sharp enough that it healed up pretty quick. Other than that, I got a nasty oil burn on my thumb once. Blistered so bad it looked like someone had cut a marble in half and glued one half on above the joint, and the other below. Still finished my shift in both instances tho. But having sustained an oil burn, I can say I will have no hesitation to cauterize a cut with a non-stick or a knife held over the flame. Compared to oil or sugar burns, contact burns don't hurt at all.

    May 12, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • rustic

      grabbing a strainer before grabbing my towel after doing 120 covers a handful of hour rush, basically the last few tables of the night. two blisters exactly like you described, across my hand diagonally. finished and went home. used my friend's key for her uni sculpture studio. freeeeeee supplies.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:02 am |
  24. MattS.

    I've done both: Early on I went to get three stitches. I have also super glued a nasty cut that probably should have gotten stitches. Done the duct tape thing too. Sure beats waiting a lonngg time in ER.

    May 12, 2011 at 1:30 am |
  25. Anonymous

    I am a complete klutz (trip over my own feet walking down the hall), but haven't had a serious kitchen injury while cooking at home for six people over the last 10 years or so. This is because I am paranoid and assume I am going to do something stupid, so I take several measures to prevent it (ex. wear glasses, wear long sleeve coat and oven mitts while putting things in/out of oven and stir frying over high heat, always cut away towards the cutting board assuming the knife might slip and cut me, put all the knives point down in the dishwasher, etc). Please be careful - if a klutz like me can be safe with the measures, then anyone can.

    May 12, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  26. guerinmj

    blood involved... (need it be said) get out of kitchen!! can you say BIOHAZARD

    May 12, 2011 at 12:42 am |
  27. Mizfurball

    I was an ER/trauma medical transcriptionist for 20 years. I can tell you that many doctors will use Super Glue to close a wound, often on recalcitrant children. However, they do use it on adults as well. This probably depends on the type of wound.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:05 am |
  28. bladerunner

    I went only once - on Super Bowl Sunday - and it took 6 hours to get 12 stitches. Never again! Sanitize (ouch!) – compress/tape – enclose (in finger of latex glove; take THAT Dr. Debra) and back to work, slacker!

    May 12, 2011 at 12:02 am |
  29. ibrad

    I burnt my finger real bad once but it was ok I was able to take one more hit before I passed the bong. Always remember puff puff pass, then nobody gets hurt!

    May 11, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Tommy Chong@brad

      LOL & Good advice, dude. Now pass that over here.

      May 12, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • Smokie

      No dude, it's puff puff give! Puff puff give!

      May 12, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  30. jdh6972

    I've been a short order cook for 10 years now. I've had to go to the ER three times for injuires. Took off the edge of my thumb on a slicer cutting eggplant planks. Definately had to go for that one, you leave a 30ft trail of blood on the kitchen floor my chef sort of forced me to go. Good thing since I hit a vein and had to have that stiched shut. Broke a ceramic soup cup being dumb, sliced the pad off my ring finger. Arm covered in blood and pooling on the floor had to go get that one fixed up. The last time was for fresh hot mash potatoes to the hand. Boy do those stick and burn nicely. 2nd degree burns all over my hand and fingers. Worst part of that was the tetnis shot I got. That took longer to heal up than the burns!

    All in all I wouldn't have left if I wasn't forced to. Thankfully all happened at slow times that I could go without much issue.

    May 11, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  31. Dr. Debra Greene

    Please tell me no one is reading or trying these practices. First, blood and/or superglue and/or duct tape in food for human consumption is a hugely unsanitary. This issue is not addressed. Second, superglue and duct tape are highly toxic. Allowing these harmful substances directly into your bloodstream via an open wound is dangerous. Please think about it. No dinner party or annoyed customer is worth risking your health over. Jobs may come, jobs may go–you only have one body for your entire life. Please take care of it.

    May 11, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • jayman419

      It has nothing to do with all restaurant workers being junkies. It is simply that there is a job to do. If you leave, who will do it? If you're in the kitchen, you may be the only one trained at a particular job. Even if you're not, you are forcing your co-workers to do it without you, and they already have their own work.

      It's not like management, where what you do day to day doesn't actually matter. It's not like being a doctor, where you don't have to pay any fees to force the patients to reschedule without notice (or you can just turf them to someone/where else).

      Cyanoacrylate stops bleeding and reduces scarring. It causes skin irritation, but the moisture instantly polymerizes the monomers and the substance is rendered mostly inert. The fumes are more dangerous than anything. For small cuts on the fingers, it's fine. You still use a bandage and a finger cot, which would be required no matter what form of treatment was used for the cut, so sanitation is no more of an issue than any injury. Dermabond is essentially the same thing, and decades before 2-octyl cyanoacrylate was deemed "safe" by the FDA super glue was saving lives. Duct tape inside a glove is also not unsanitary. It's another useful tool for holding a flap of skin or a smaller, more traditional bandage in place for an hour or so until your body's natural healing seals the wound.

      Anything that squirts.... Anything that removes rather than simply cuts flesh... Anything that hasn't stopped bleeding after your shift... That's when you need to see a doctor. But if you can't feed your customers good food from a trained staff in the best position they can fill, in a timely manner, they'll just go eat somewhere else. And then you won't have any job (or injury risks) to worry about.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:30 am |
      • Truth

        Blah blah blah. People being righteous about serving food.

        May 12, 2011 at 1:23 am |
      • hmmm

        I understand that Chefs and Line Cooks may not have insurance, or be able to afford it. However that makes it even more concerning that someone in that situation could potentially have something like Hepatitis, and not even know it, due to the lack of medical insurance and/or funds to go to the doctor. Meanwhile, they're dripping their blood in the food I'm eating, and searing their flesh with the pans that my food is being cooked in? That's not just gross, its unsanitary and a health risk to the customers. As a customer, if I was informed that my food would be delayed a bit because of a kitchen injury, I would be more understanding of the situation and less likely to complain about the wait. As it stands now, I won't be eating out anytime soon.

        June 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Dr. Deb

      I answered someone else further down in this thread, and wanted to clarify that you and I are (obviously) not the same person:

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Dr. Deb

      You're in the medical field and have never "heard of" using crazy glue for wounds like this???
      We have more types now....Nexaband, Tissumend, and other brands....which are used in humans all the time. Chemically, they're all essentially the same thing, but they are marketed specifically as surgical adhesives. But how that even came about was that Krazy glue/Super glue etc (the types sold in hardware stores and WalMart, etc.) was originally developed specifically FOR medical wounds during the war (World War 2, I think?) for treated the less severe combat injuries out in the field.

      Yes, Krazy glue was used for medical purposes in the military BEFORE it was EVER sold to the general public as a household adhesive.
      May 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Reply

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      I AM A SURGEON. It is PERFECTLY acceptable to use super glue in a wound once it has been disinfected--we do it ALL THE TIME. I do have to agree with you on the duct tape, however, which causes a nasty contact dermatitis that's worse than the original wound. But back to a cut finger (even a "deep" one): Once appropriately cleaned and disinfected with Betadine (easy to buy over the counter, and my personal preference) or chlorhexidine solution and glued (NO OINTMENTS!!!! .....and NO PEROXIDE!!!!), the finger should be wrapped snuggly (but not too tight) with a regular bandaid and then covered with a finger cot or rubber glove. If the person doesn't want the whole hand covered (which is best), a finger can be cut off of a rubber glove and used, with tape around the top so that it doesn't slip off.

      You must be pretty young, Dr. Greene, if you are not aware of this commonly-used treatment, which has a very hight success rate for kitchen-type injuries (and even injuries at home if tetanus is not a concern.) I did it to myself once when I accidentally but my thumb down to the bone (I felt the knife hit it.) It was a deep injury, but other wise small: about 3/4 of an inch long. I have a little "Nike swoosh" scar that most people don't even notice: it is much less than I would have if I had had stitches.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
      • chriissy

        dr deb, now wen you are saying super gluing these wounds is what u guys do.. are u supergluing the surface together just along the skin seem, or actually in side the wound and then pushed shut? this seems like a bad idea with the chemicals in volved? no?

        October 25, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  32. ChefReyDiddy

    I lacerated my hand with a brand new scimeter about 10 hrs into a 14 hr shift. Afterwards i had my sous chef drive me home and sit with my twin boy toddlers while i went and got stitches. It was a great day.

    May 11, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  33. Anon_e_mouse

    I'll preface this by saying that I am an enthusiastic amateur cook, not a professional. I've ended up in the ER three times that I can think of over the last 40 years due to a cooking injury; the first was back in my grad school days when I grabbed the handle of a ceramic pot without a pot holder after putting the pot in the oven (second and third degree burns to the palm of my hand and my fingers), the second was when a spark triggered a gas explosion outdoors while I was changing propane tanks on a grill (first and second degree burns plus shrapnel wounds), and the third was when I didn't use a hand guard with a mandoline (sliced off the tip of my finger).

    May 11, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  34. MidwifeMama

    Not a chef, but we've used dermabond for lacerations instead of stitches for a while – I admit to being surprised it wasn't part of any chef's first aid kit. In the infamous Jamie episode, I could only shake my head and wonder where the dermabond was, and why she was going to the hospital for 2 stitches..

    May 11, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  35. Michael

    A good percentage, but by no means all restaurant employees party pretty hard. So one must also remember that every time you go to the hospital for a work related injury, you are drug tested for your employers insurance company. If you do have any marijuana, or alcohol from the night before in your bloodstream, you lose your job and the insurance company won't cover the medical costs. Who wants to risk that if they don't have to?

    May 11, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  36. The People's Chef

    As a Chef of almost 30 years, I can think off the top of my head of maybe 20 times I have been wounded enough to require medical attention, and of about 3 times that I actually went and got it. It's not a macho thing at all; simply, as Jesse Ventura put it so well "I ain't got time to bleed"...macho has nothing to do with it!

    May 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  37. Sir Pluto

    I worked in a kitchen for about 7 years. Thats all I could take. I did however receive my fair share of cuts and burns. Most cuts and burns were on the fingers. I used to keep a box of finger cots in the kitchen. (basically latex finger condoms.) If I ever got a cut. I washed it really fast. Wrapped it a couple of times with paper towel. Put the finger cot on and wrapped the top a couple of times with waterproof tape. I was good to go even if the wound didn't stop bleeding for a few minutes. When you are staring at 10-15 tickets you don't have the option to go to the hospital or take the time to "properly" bandage your wound.

    May 11, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  38. Thomas

    A fellow line cook once closed the door to the pizza oven on my arm while I was reaching in for a pan. I plunged my arm in ice water wrapped it up and finished the shift. The chef was angry I didn't go to the hospital for treatment, yeah right!

    May 11, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
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