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Anything I want it to be
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Laughing at the misfortunes of others

Posted 30-12-2005 at 05:18 by Acrylic-bob

Laughing at the misfortunes of others
Every year around this time the NHS produces Hospital Episode Statistics. This body of work details just what the NHS and its hospitals have been up to in the last year. Despite the inherent dryness of statistical information it can make surprisingly good reading and the source of many a perverse guffaw to liven the post Christmas afternoons, particularly when it comes to the accounting of Accident and Emergency departments. If you thought that some of the story lines on Holby City were a little contrived and far-fetched you are about to discover that the truth is indeed many times stranger than fiction would ever dare to be.

For instance, presumably while we were all busy doing something more interesting, the NHS treated 86 people who were injured as a result of Volcanic Explosions and 8 were treated for injuries caused by earthquakes. In addition, 24 were injured by avalanche and 35 as a result of Cataclysmic Storms! I really must pay more attention to the evening news.

Two Bus Occupants were injured in collision with a Pedal Cycle. I leave to you the speculation over why anyone in his or her right mind would consider it reasonable to ride a pedal cycle on a bus, however erratically.

It appears that 1,428 people were unfortunate enough to fall from trees, swallowing up an astonishing 3,448 bed days. Pretty unremarkable stuff you might think at first glance, until you rummage a little deeper, and this is where the laughing starts, and discover that 29 of that number were aged between 60 and 74! And better yet, 14 of them were aged over 74! Why were 43 pensioners climbing trees? What possessed them? Behind the statistic, of course, are the ones who didnít end up in hospital! Are we now to assume that tree climbing is a regular occupation of pensioners, who, tired of whist drives and elbowing people out of the way in supermarket queues are now taking to arboreal acrobatics in a bid to add the spice of a little danger to the tedium of their days? How long can it be before the Fire Brigade is called out, not only to rescue grannyís kitten from the tree, but granny too? But it isnít only trees. 18 of the same age groups fell from cliffs! What is this strange, lemming-like preoccupation with heights that appears to overtake us with the acquisition of the pension book?

And while we are discussing adult irresponsibility, how many times were you told when you were little to be careful near swings? And did any of you listen? Not according to these figures. 305 adults were treated for injuries caused by playground equipment! Despite being warned a zillion times that it is not a good idea to put your hand in the fire, 378 adults failed to heed the advice and were injured by household heating appliances.

Then of course there are odd causes of death to consider. Nowhere it seems is safe. 10 people were accidentally either suffocated or strangled while they were in bed and an amazing 15 people drowned after falling into a bathtub. I can understand slipping and falling while you are in the thing but how can you fall into a bathtub?

But this is the one that gets me. Six people were treated for the effects of a prolonged stay in a weightless environment, four of whom were over 60 years of age! Silver surfers are pushing ahead of the rest of us and going into space!
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