Search Terms Puzzle

So today, I had a visit to my blog from someone using the search term “a person has severed her finger what do you do first”.

My question is, what conceivable circumstance under which you are searching for that phrase, would you see “The Digital Cuttlefish” in your results and decide I think I’ll click this one!”.

(Oddly enough, when I search for “a person has severed her finger what do you do first” on Google, one of my posts does show up on page one. So at least our intrepid searcher did not waste time looking beyond there.)

I do hope that among the top three things that were done were A) apply pressure to the wound to minimize bleeding, B) find the severed digit and put it on ice, and C) call 911 (ok, in truth that originally read “dial 911”, which simply shows that I am old). This is not advice–this is my list of at least three things I would do before hopping onto Google and asking. I could be wrong.

I genuinely hope all is well with whoever is the reason for that particular search. I do feel just a bit horrible that my blog might conceivably have been a distraction along the way.

Oh, and if anyone knows the actual real answer to “what do you do first”, consider posting it here, and I’ll happily add it to this post, just for future searchers.


  1. Emu Sam says

    Copy paste from

    1. Stop Bleeding
    Apply firm pressure until bleeding stops.
    If finger or part of finger is severed, put the severed part in a clean plastic bag, pack the bag in ice, and take it with you to the doctor.
    2. Clean Wound
    Wash with fresh water.
    Apply antibacterial cream to reduce risk of infection.
    Apply a sterile bandage.
    3. Control Swelling
    Apply ice to a bruised or swollen finger.
    4. When to See a Doctor
    Inability to move the finger
    Bone is exposed
    The wound is deep or long.
    Pain and swelling are severe or persistent.
    You can’t clean the wound or the wound is very dirty. (You may need antibiotics)
    The injury is a puncture wound and you haven’t had a tetanus shot in the last 10 years.
    The injury is from a human or animal bite.
    If the wound doesn’t heal or shows signs of infection: redness, swelling, pain, or pus.

    So 911 might not be necessary if you’ve got someone to apply pressure, someone to keep track of the finger, and someone to drive; just get to the emergency room fast. Depending on location, it may get you better treatment faster to ride in an ambulance.

  2. Cuttlefish says

    Congratulations, Emu Sam– you are now responsible for what is probably the most helpful writing on my entire blog!

  3. says

    My absolute favorite part of my control panel stats is seeing how google has led people (mistakenly) to my site. The top three have been “I have no idea what I’m doing,” “how to keep awake,” and “Birthday card for him.” The only relevant one is “I have no idea what I’m doing” because I don’t, but I certainly don’t offer advice for anyone else.

  4. 'Tis Himself says

    “dial 911″

    Even dial telephones are considered obsolete in North America (there are less than ten exchanges in the US which support dial phones) the common term for entering a call number into a telephone is “dial.”

  5. Cuttlefish says

    ‘Tis… I shall assume you are missing a “though” as 2nd word… My students were highly amused, to show me that there is an app that allows you to put a rotary dial on an iPhone. Fortunately, I have no desire for a smart phone. Unfortunately, I have no choice about it with my income.

    Those grapes were sour anyway.

  6. davem says

    Just in case your digit-less sufferer doesn’t come from the ‘states, make that ‘dial 112’. (Does that work in the US)? …presumably using one of the other 9 digits…

  7. lorn says

    There is one small point I will add:

    Shorter travel times eliminate most considerations for how to treat the severed part. If you are two blocks from a major medical center you are better off not taking time to rinse the dirt off or worrying about temperature. Wrap it in a clean cloth or paper towel and transport with the patient. Move quickly but calmly. If time allows call ahead so they can meet you at the door.

    General rules I learned, from memory, were:

    Be sure the severed part goes WITH the patient. Emergency services lose parts like airlines lose luggage. It is so obvious that everyone thinks someone else is taking care of it.

    Do not scrub or touch the cut end.

    Do keep the part cool but Do NOT allow it to freeze.

    Do NOT immerse the part in water.

    If transport will take an hour or more, very gently rinse off any obvious dirt, wrap the part in a moistened paper towel or clean cloth, place it in a plastic bag, and transport in a container of ice water. Freezing does more damage than failing to keep it cool.

    Do call ahead so they can have the team and material ready to go.

    I suspect you might be better off in most cases avoiding any topical antibiotics. The antibiotics in your average OTC product are so weak, and resistance to those antibiotics so common, that they tend to end up clearing the way for resistant bacteria.

  8. Emu Sam says

    That seems like a potential use for synchronized GPSes. Call ahead and meet the ambulance halfway.

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