An Important Lesson

I was voicing a new set of plectra, placing the trim block and scalpel on the keyboard, as usual, while replacing a jack…
Somehow I knocked the scalpel off the keyboard, and it dropped straight down like a dart and into my foot, almost the full length of the #11 blade. It was not very painful, but the flow of blood was remarkable.

Fortunately one of our neighbors is an ER technician, and he was home, so within minutes, the Emergency Room had come to me! All in his daily work. He cleaned the wound and applied pressure bandages.

A deep wound like this does not get stitched because trapped blood can lead to an absess.
So, I must spend at least a day with my foot elevated as high as possible. (Blood pressure is highest in the feet.) And if I walk at all, must use crutches to avoid flexing the foot. The idea is to allow the wound to close itself from the inside out.
Since I had attached a new blade for this work, chances of infection aren’t great. If all goes well I’ll be fine in a few days.

I’ve dropped scalpels before, but never gave a thought to what would happen if one spiked open flesh.
I will make a very pretty voicing tool tray to set over the tuning pins, so pretty that I’ll always want to use it when voicing a harpsichord.


Oh, my! How bizarre. Thanks to your friend and for your advice to us. Best wishes for thorough and uneventful healing.

I do remember there is an option for ordering “sterile” or “nonsterile” blades. I know which option I’ll choose from now on!

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It happens! I learned to never work with a scalpel wearing flipflops! Fortunately when I accidently dropped a scalpel years ago, it landed right through the webbing between my big toe and its immediate neighbor. It did not bleed…yet…so I walked to where some guys were working for me on a house project to show it off. They were very impressed and watched me pull it out, squeeze out blood, and plop a bandage on it.

Yours was much more impressive.

As to when I’m working on an instrument, I use something like a clean foam vegetable tray on top of the instrument to hold my tools. Safer, I know where the tools are, and there is no risk to the instrument from the tools. Still, I dropped it somehow while I was working…probably overtired. I also no longer work too long at a time with a scalpel!

I’m sure you will have plenty to do with your foot raised!

Heal fast!


Decades ago, when I was doing my medical training at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, a fraternity brother of mine who was a Zuckermann kit dealer called to tell me he had sliced off part of his thumb with a #11 blade. I told him to meet me at the ER of one of our hospitals, where I knew I could get a plastic surgery resident or attending physician quickly. By the time he arrived, I had everything arranged through doctor friends to have the end of my friend’s thumb reattached by the plastic surgeon on call that night. He did a magnificent job, and once again we learned that it pays to have connections.

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Get better swiftly Ed! But you are meant to be voicing the 8 foot, not the right or left foot. :slight_smile: