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Seattle-area hospital gears up for busiest holiday weekend of year

Harborview Medical Center is preparing for its busiest holiday weekend of the year.

SEATTLE — The holiday Fourth of July weekend isn't only busy for travel. Harborview Medical Center in Seattle is gearing up for their busiest weekend of the year.

Dozens of families went to "Native Works," a Fife fireworks stand, in preparation to celebrate their independence with a big bang.

"It goes back in history, and bombs bursting in air, it's in our songs, it's a part of who we are as a America," said Damien Mills.

Despite the excitement, doctors at Harborview Medical Center are bracing for the highest-volume weekend of the year. 

"Last year alone we saw 50 people tragically injured by fireworks, and this year we had nine already and it’s just Saturday and the Fourth isn't until two days from now on Monday," said Dr. Steve Mitchell, the Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Harborview Medical Center

Dr. Mitchell said fireworks are unpredictable and can lead to serious injuries.

"There are two types of injuries that are by far the most common, they are injuries to the hands and the fingers and there are injuries to your eyes," said Dr. Mitchell.

He said hospitals across western Washington are already stressed and overrun due to the effects of the pandemic. At Harborview, extra surgeons, operating rooms, and staff are available with anticipation of what's to come.

"Leave it to the professionals. But if you engage with fireworks, never hold them, never look down at them, and never, ever point fireworks at anybody," said Dr. Mitchell.

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