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Well, here in central Alabama, we have just lived through a very cold winter and a major snow event. Although hard to accept it, spring is just around the corner.

For those of us who do our own yard work, let’s talk a minute about safety and I’m going to start with power mowers.

First realize they are dangerous. Treat them with respect! We, all too often as physicians, have to treat emergent and serious injuries from these tools.

First, go over the area to be mowed. This is particularly important the first mow of the season. Sticks and no telling what else landed in your yard over the winter and can become excellent projectiles from your mower.

I have personally seen a door key impaled into a foot, and a copper wire a patient carried around for years in his leg before it began giving problems, so pick up first, don’t let the mower do it for you.

Another thing to add here from personal experience is that running over a yellow jacket or bumble nest will not, repeat not, kill them, but it *will* enrage them and they fly faster than you run. I can’t personally speak to snakes, but I bet the blade misses them, too.

Another consideration is the condition of your equipment. I have seen multiple folks who have torn their rotator cuff from pulling on a balky pull cord. Even seen a couple who fell and broke their wrist when it broke or had the pull cord snap back and injury them. It’s not worth it. The equipment should crank easier than that. See your service technician. This tech can also sharpen your blade, but it’s up to you to make sure *every time* that it’s still tight.

Next, what are you wearing? I like to wear shorts and flip flops as much as the next guy, maybe more, but wearing shoes that can deflect at least some projectiles and long pants will save you some, but not all, injuries. Good treads on the shoes makes it less likely your foot slips under the mower deck (never a good thing, and frequently leads to and ER trip).

And on the line of common sense, people, get your little kids out of there! Send them somewhere else to play. You cannot tell where or when “normal” projectiles will emerge (rocks, small sticks and the like) and may hit the kid. Send them away.

I’m not even going to go into keeping your hands and feet away from the blade. Goes without saying.

Let’s be safe out there.

James Bailey MD





DrGilmerMainDr. Gilmer’s interest in Orthopedics was sparked at the age of six when she saw Dr. Savage, Sr., for a broken arm. At thirteen she told her mother she wanted to be a surgeon and thus began her relentless pursuit of medicine, eventually becoming an extern with AOSSMA before going off to college at Birmingham-Southern College and then continuing on to the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine. “For me, it’s all about making people better,” Dr. Gilmer says. “They come in hurting and I know I can do something about that.”

Although Dr. Gilmer practices general Orthopedics, her passion lies in her specialty, Foot and Ankle. “Why foot and ankle?” we asked. She answered:

“The foot and the ankle are integral to living a full life. We take it for granted that our feet work and it is only when your feet hurt that you realize the limitations that can have on your life. As a doctor, I can make a dramatic improvement in someone’s life by treating their feet; anyone from a 15-year-old sportsman who has rolled his ankle to an 85-year-old woman with arthritis who can’t walk to the bathroom.”

Welcoming Dr. Gilmer into the family of AOSSMA physicians was a no-brainer. She is not only our first female physician but embodies what we firmly believe in: dedication, passion and a desire to help people and make them better. “I wanted to be near my family and because of my longstanding relationship with AOSSMA, for me, there was really no other choice than to practice medicine here,” she states. “I knew I didn’t want to be in a big university hospital setting because there are too many hurdles for your patient. A 2-3 month wait for an appointment when you’re hurting is unacceptable to me.”

Dr. Gilmer has been a part of our AOSSMA family for so long already, that it gives us great pleasure to add her to our accomplished list of physicians and we are so excited to see what her future here holds. Although Dr. Gilmer’s specialty is foot and ankle, she will be practicing general orthopedics for all ages, especially children and adolescents. If you are interested in seeing Dr. Gilmer, we are currently accepting appointments. Please call our office at 838-3900 to schedule.

“Don’t let anything stop you from doing what you want to do,” Dr. Gilmer insists. “Do not let limitations define you. If you are a runner and your foot is hurting and now you can’t run, don’t let that quench your passion. I will not only do what I can do to make you better, I will help you focus your passion elsewhere.”




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