Sewing can be a profession or a hobby. Some do it for pleasure, other because they were forced into it and still others because they just enjoy it. Before the era of machines, sewing was done manually. My first experience with sewing was almost 45 years ago when the first manual 'Usha' sewing machine arrived at home. The machine fascinated me and I spent hours trying to fathom how it worked, how a simple thread placed on the top ended up in such beautiful patterns, how every part moved the thread in a particular manner and how malfunction of a single part could destroy the entire sewing process. I marveled as the thread passed through each part and finally through the eye of the needle and then through the cloth that was being stitched. Finally, it pulled in the second thread from the bobbin situated on the underside to complete the stitch. Even plastic surgeons like Dr Bates (http://rlbatesmd.blogspot.in/ ) are seriously devoted to sewing and quilting. I guess when you infuse love, enthusiasm and passion into any profession, simple jobs like stitching can get elevated to artistic expressions.
The Englishman Thomas saint is believed to be the first to patent a design for a sewing machine in 1790. In 1830, French tailor Barthelemy Thimonnier patented a machine that sewed straight seams using a chain stitch. However other French tailors destroyed his factory of 80 machines because they were afraid of loosing their livelihood. Elias Howe, an American gentleman created his sewing machine in 1845. In 1851, Isaac Merritt singer an engineer developed his machine based on the knowledge he gained from his predecessors. The singer machine has evolved and today is one of the leading sewing machines in the world.
We must remember that most of the inventions that we have benefited from have been developed based on the efforts of many people and while some had original ideas other developed it and still others helped to market it so that the world would benefit from it. Some names will always be missed and it is the duty of historians and people privy to this information to find these names and grant them the honor they truly deserve.
While all these developments have taken place, there still is the issue of safety which needs to be addressed. The needles are bare and unprotected, most of the injuries happen when the cloth is guided to the needle so that the stitch falls at the desired site. Our unfortunate patient shown above suffered an injury with the needle that passed through the skin, soft tissues and also the bone. At times, the needle tends to break inside the finger and removal becomes more difficult.Surgery was needed to remove the needle as well as to clean up the tract through which the needle had passed, so that infection would not occur after the needle was removed. Appropriate antibiotic coverage was also provided.
It is time that someone in the sewing industry notices and addresses this issue seriously. If we can cage the needle in some way that will prevent the finger from approaching the needle, we will be able to avoid serious injuries. As surgeons it is also our duty to write and make people aware of these injuries+