A Tempe family is hoping their story will serve as a warning to others about a certain type of fidget spinner, which put their son in the hospital for 16 hours.
"I thought that maybe it would be on there for the rest of my life,” said 11-year-old Sam Rhodes.
Unlike most of the more common fidget spinners, the Genji Shuriken, inspired by a video game, is put on your finger.
“I barely pushed on my finger and it just popped right on,” said Rhodes.
Taking it off was much more difficult.
“We tried soap, we tried oil, we tried looking on the internet for tricks,” said Cassie Rhodes, his mother.
When nothing worked, they took him to the emergency room, but that wasn’t much better.
The ER doctor brought out a ring cutter, which easily cuts through most common rings.
“It didn’t even scratch it,” said Cassie.
Of course, this was no common ring. The Genji spinner is made of an alloy metal, meaning it is incredibly strong.
“I mean, it didn't even make a mark. They [hospital staff] said, 'We don’t have the equipment right now at this point to help you, but we’ll find someone who does,'” said Rhodes.
That took them to hospital No. 2: Cardon Children’s Medical Center.
And this wasn’t the first time they saw a child in the same predicament. It was the third.
“I had a patient previously, like a month prior, who had a very similar fidget spinner stuck on his finger,” said Lizzy Ballenger, an ER nurse.
They knew exactly what to do. Instead of getting a doctor, they ran to find the maintenance man.
“It’s the third time I’ve been asked to cut off rings from people’s fingers,” said Greg Earhart, who has worked as a maintenance man at the hospital for 31 years.
Once again, it was Greg and his fiberglass saw that came to the rescue.
Earhart went through four of his fiberglass blades before he was able to cut off the stubborn alloy band.
And finally, two hospitals, 16 hours and four broken saws later, Sam’s finger was fidget-free.
“I was extremely happy because I knew it was finally over,” said Sam.
Now he and his mom want others to learn from their story and know how potentially dangerous some spinners can be.
“Especially, the ones with open holes meant to put your finger in it,” said Sam.
Something else to keep in mind, nurses at Cardon’s ER say they’ve also seen a recent increase in kids who swallow spinner parts and end up in the ER.
They’re seeing an average of two or three kids per month recently.
It proved difficult to find the manufacturer of the Genji spinner. The device is available online. Sam bought his on Amazon. We reached out to them, and an Amazon spokesperson told us they are investigating.
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