The holiday season, which we’ve all been looking forward to for weeks, is finally here. But with it inevitably follow a string of events that you wish never happened! From food fiascos to forgetting the names of relatives who always remember yours, the holidays definitely have their misgivings, which will give you something to laugh about for years to come.
But as a medical professional, you probably deal with Christmas accidents much more serious than these common blunders remotely compares to the sort of Christmas accidents that the good folks at the ER have to witness every year. If you’ve worked in the ER during the holidays, then you’ll no doubt have a tale or two of your own to tell.
Whether you’re a medical professional, or still training to be one, we want to share with you our 5 favorite holiday accidents from around the world. All of these really sent the doctors in a doozy, so be ready if you have to deal with them this time around.
#1 Fairly Hazardous
Over 500 people in the UK are admitted into ER each year for injuries caused by Christmas tree lights (or as the Brits call them, fairy lights). Don’t be surprised — even something as innocent as holiday decoration may have a darker side.
The most commonly reported injuries include those caused by people falling when putting lights on rather large trees, getting shocked (or worse) from faulty wiring, or children swallowing the small bulb pieces. There are even cases of people having their eyes and lashes burnt due to spontaneously exploding lights. And, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 30 people have died since 1996 due to watering their Christmas trees while the fairy lights were plugged in.
If you have a holiday shift coming up, then look out for those poor souls who were cursed by the fairy, and help them get back to the merry spirit of Christmas.
#2 Down the Chimney
It’s one thing to dress up as Santa, handing out sweets and presents to kids, and it’s totally another to actually try to climb down a chimney before doing so.
Dr. Mike Lambert at Norfolk and Norwich hospital tells the story of a man who tied one one of the rope to himself and the other to the bumper of his parked car (smart!) and climbed onto the roof so that he could descend into his living room the old fashioned way.
Unfortunately for him, his wife unknowingly hijacked his chariot and drove it away just as he was about to make the drop. Fortunately for him, he was not badly hurt. The story is a very famous one down at Norfolk and Norwich and is still passed around as local lore!
#3 Kiss of Death
The ubiquitous mistletoe has been the favorite holiday make out trap of many. But as few people know that mistletoes are poisonous since they contain viscotoxins, which, if ingested can cause gastrointestinal distress, slower heart beat, or blood pressure spikes, (fewer know that the Phoradendron variety of mistletoe found in North America is so poisonous that it can even cause death!) these lovely little decorations send a fair sized quota to the ER every December.
Most of the time, doctors have to treat kids as they have unknowingly ingested a few mistletoe berries or leaves. Even some adults unknowingly consume mistletoe berries trying to pull a creative take on the tradition and regret having done so later! In fact, in a rather bizarre turn of events at a TGI event in Brooklyn not so long ago, a remote controlled drone carrying a mistletoe was flying around to give diners a chance to kiss, when it accidentally chipped off the tip of a reporter’s nose.
Mistletoes also cause many pet fatalities, so veterinarians — expect to be extremely busy around this time of the year.
#4 When Prankster Becomes Prankee
What would the holiday be without pranks? But having fun at another’s expense can rebound very quickly if the prankster is not careful. This is aptly proven by the number of YouTube videos on how badly some pranks can backfire.
For instance, Ronald Podlaski of La Rochelle, France fell from a 3 story building when he tried to break into his friend’s apartment to surprise her, only to realize that he had climbed up the wrong building and had broken into a florist’s shop! The paramedics who arrived at the scene were relieved to see that he suffered only minor injuries.
Also, the former Twins and White Sox pitcher Francisco Lariano suffered a serious injury to his arm when he tried to scare his kids during Christmas by slamming his arm against a door. As he ended up starting the season on the disabled list, he lost a whopping 12 million dollars which would he would have earned had he remained in good health (ouch).
#5 Hang On There!
There are as many as 1000 Christmas accidents due to falling while putting up lights reported throughout the US alone. Dr. Wesley Fields, who is an ER Specialist at Saddleback Medical Center, Laguna Hills, says that accidents involving people falling down inevitably happen.
As most people are not exactly experts at negotiating rooftops, they take huge risks climbing up there. “I had this man last year who broke several ribs while trying to get his lights up,” he says.
No Such Thing as Rest
The holidays are no doubt the busiest time of year for ERs. While most of the cases that find their way to an ER are related to drinking and driving, the numbers of those that are downright strange are also pretty appalling.
While Christmas has become synonymous with feasts and celebrations, its real spirit will always be in giving and caring for each other. Our hats go off to the doctors, nurses, and staffs at ERs around the world, who sacrifice their time with their families to ensure that those who were victims of unfortunate accidents are treated as quickly as possible. Indeed, there is hardly any better service than alleviating one’s misery.
Do you have any experiences and stories that you will like to share? Leave a comment below and let us know!