What to Do When Bodyparts Fall Off

Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.'s Senior Medical Correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, gathered some (potentially) useful info so you know what to do if you loose a finger, a tooth, or (almost) pop out an eyeball. Here's what we learned:

Problem: You cut off a finger
DON'T: Put it directly on ice. This can cause freezer burn and make reattachment difficult.
DO: Rinse the finger off. Put a damp cloth around it. Put that in a plastic bag, then put the plastic bag on ice water. Keep the finger with you–don't let a family member hold it because you might get separated from your family in the ER.

Problem: You lost a tooth
DON'T: Let it dry out.
DO: Put it in milk or water. (Because they have neutral pHs.) If you can't, suck off any dirt, then try to pop it back in place. If it won't stay put, store it between your gum and cheek and try to get to a dentist within one hour to keep the chances of a successful implantation high.

Problem: Your eyeball dislodged (It won't pop out–the optic nerve will keep it attached.)
DON'T: Push it back in yourself. You can cause more damage.
DO: Call ahead to the ER and request to have an ophthalmologist waiting for you. The doctor will put your eye back in place and give you antibiotics. Your vision may be blurry for a few weeks, but if you didn't damage anything, it will return. 

For more info, check out the CNN article.

–Erin Beresini

Photo courtesy of Gideon Tsang on Flickr

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