12 May 2017

Avocado injuries cost ACC nearly $70,000 last year

From Checkpoint, 5:38 pm on 12 May 2017

Nearly one person every second day filed avocado-related ACC claims last year, costing taxpayers almost $70,000.

New figures show 162 people filed a claim with the word "avocado" in the injury description to ACC last year.

That was up from 2014 and 2015, which had 118 and 137 claims respectively.

The majority of the claims were from people cutting or stabbing themselves while trying to remove the fruit's stone, said Meredith Simcock, a reconstructive plastic and hand surgeon at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland.


Photo: 123RF

"The worst I've personally seen is someone who's stabbed through the avocado and stabbed into their hand and cut the nerves that supply the index finger and middle finger, which mean they've got numb fingers, and then cut the tendons that supply the middle finger," Dr Simcock said.

"We have to stitch up the tendons and put them into a cast for at least six weeks, and then they need physiotherapy for at least six to 12 weeks after that."

Dr Simcock said patients could sometimes lose feeling in their fingers for life.

"They tend to come in at the weekend after barbecues. They come in with a towel wrapped around their hand and their tail between legs, and if it's later in the afternoon a bunch of mates who laugh at them quite a lot."

In Britain, the Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has called for safety-warning labels to be put on avocados, after becoming frustrate with the number of avocado-related injuries.