Local woman warns of fireworks dangers

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As we head into the 4th of July holiday weekend, there will be countless firework displays.

Before you and your family enjoy the fun, meet a local woman with a visual reminder of the dangers fireworks pose.

21-year-old Taylor Dietz has a lot to look forward to. She just graduated from college and is getting ready for law school. She also just got engaged.

You'll notice she wears the ring on her right hand, that's because of what happened to her left when she was five-years-old. 

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"There was an illegal firework in my house," she explained to WKYC Channel 3's Monica Robins. "It looked like a candle and I got a hold of a lighter somehow."

It blew up in her left hand and Taylor lost the tops of four fingers.

"That is a story I've heard unfortunately several times in my career," says Dr. Bram Kaufman at MetroHealth Medical Center. "It's devastating when you have multiple types of tissues and bones recovering from that. It is very, very difficult."

Over the years, Taylor endured nearly a dozen surgeries. "A lot of reconstructive surgeries and I had a lot of complications, so my nerves weren't wired correctly."

She currently works in a day care, and never misses an opportunity this time of year to teach children about the dangers of fireworks. 

It sounds like common sense, but alcohol and fireworks, just like alcohol and guns or driving.. simply don't mix. The damage an errant firework can do is mutilating and most often difficult to medically fix..

Dr Kaufman says this time of year usually young men are most at risk. They tend to be the ones who were celebrating too much with alcohol and became careless, which typically results in permanent damage.