What do you do when you can’t get a ring off your finger?
I learned a trick in medical school that always stuck with me and I got to use it again a few days ago with another mark in the “success” column.
About 5 or 6 times per year we see someone who can’t get their ring off. The patient puts the ring on when the finger is small and then some event makes the finger larger so the ring gets stuck.
So was the story of the patient that we saw. She was very upset at the thought of having her grandmother’s wedding ring cut off, but her finger was so swollen that the ring was stuck.
So how do I get a ring off of a swollen finger? Here’s my secret trick:
You’ll need some lubrication (vaseline or something similar) and a rubber tourniquet. A large rubber band or even a shoelace might work in a pinch. If you know how to do one, performing a digital block may keep the patient out of pain.
Starting at the top of the finger and winding your way down, wrap the rubber band/tourniquet tightly around the finger so that it squeezes all of the blood out of the finger.
Leave the tourniquet on the finger for about 10 minutes.
Take the tourniquet off and immediately lube up the ring and entire finger.
There are two ways to work the ring off. My preferred method is to untwist the ring like a bottle cap – pulling the ring off while twisting. I have also seen the “rocking” method where the ring is rocked back and forth while pulling it off. Personally, I have had more success with the first method.
Any other ideas for saving the rings from the evil ring cutters?