Tide of bizarre injuries keeps hospitals busy

There is a story told by NHS nurses about a man who turned up at accident and emergency walking in a strange manner and telling a confused tale.

It transpired that he suffered from constipation, and had been advised to take a boiled egg. Misunderstanding the advice, he took the egg as close as was possible to the problem afflicting him.

You see life working in A & E. An idea of the scale and variety of accidents that that need NHS treatment can be deduced from a dry-looking document posted on the web, with the not so gripping title of "Hospital Episode Statistics". It consists of almost nothing but columns of figures.

But the stories that underlie these dry statistics are a testament to the cruelty of fate and the carelessness with which some people end up in hospital.

It is a detailed compendium of the dozens of types of accident, with statistics that indicate how common they are, and details like the ages of their victims.

The commonest is the simple act of falling over or off some stationary object. For instance, in the year 2007-8, which is covered by the most recent figures, no fewer than 1,243 people needed hospital treatment after falling out of a tree. About a thousand of the casualties were boys under the age of 15. But there were also a dozen patients in this category aged over 75, and 40 others old enough to qualify for a bus pass. You are never too old to fall out of a tree.

Fall out of bed and you may land in hospital. Most victims are elderly, but more than a thousand people between 15 and 60 took such a tumble in the night that they needed treatment.

Another 4,283 patients needed a hospital bed after they had been ice-skating, skiing, roller-skating or skateboarding. A dozen were aged over 75. Out of 1,037,263 people admitted to hospital after an accident during the year, more than 400,000 had suffered a fall.

Further down the table are the more unusual causes of injury. You might think, for example, that being stung by a scorpion is not a hazard that need worry the British at home. Yet six people managed to get so badly stung that they were rushed to hospital and kept there for an average of three days.

Rats have a nasty bite and gave 21 people overnight stays in hospitals. There are also those treated after being bitten by spiders, snakes, lizards and other critters, including a man of 60 who spent three days in hospital after an encounter with a crocodile.

Other casualties included 44 people struck by lightning, 18 hurt by "cataclysmic storms", 10 caught in avalanches, five earthquake victims, and 15 flown back to the NHS after volcanoes erupted.

As to the gentleman and his boiled egg, his case would have appeared beneath subheading W44 – "foreign body entering through eye or other natural orifice". During 2007-8, 5,048 children and 5,334 adults suffered this fate.

Calamitous cases

28,602 Falling down stairs

592 Falling off playground equipment

404 Accidents with a motor mower

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    IT Project Manager

    Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    IT Manager

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album