Strange injuries: maimed by tissue paper, Blu-Tack, and slippers | Jack Marshall’s column

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In the time it takes you to read this column, at least one person will have injured themselves just wandering around the house.

This is according to stats compiled by the Department of Trade and Industry in 1998, which showed that, over the course of a single year, there were some 439,000 cases of people being maimed in the course of a domestic stroll.

It gets better. The same body of research revealed that 1,543 people had to make a trip to hospital as a result of incidents involving tissue paper, 59 were hurt by Blu-Tack, 117 were hospitalised by cricket stumps (I daren’t ask), and an astonishing 37,048 people received medical attention as a result of troublesome incidents with their slippers.

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These are our fellow humans, living, laughing, loving, breathing, voting citizens who drive cars and buy scissors. But maybe there’s a reasonable explanation for every one of those panicked trips to A&E following a mortal tangle with tissue paper or a skirmish with a particularly deadly lump of Blu-Tack. If so, I want to hear every one.

A&E (credit Joe Giddens PA Images)A&E (credit Joe Giddens PA Images)
A&E (credit Joe Giddens PA Images)

During lockdown, it appears our collective predilection for mind-bendingly erratic injuries was only heightened: NHS data for 2020/21 shows that 7,386 people were admitted to hospital after being bitten or struck by a dog while 5,300 giddy folk sought medical attention for injuries caused by tumbles from playground equipment, including eight over the age of 90.

Still, that’s not as bad as 2007/08, when Hospital Episode Statistics show that 1,243 people ended up in their local NHS waiting room after falling out trees (a dozen acrobatic victims were over the age of 75), some 1,000 needed to see a doctor after falling out of bed, and 404 green-fingered souls had to shuffle off to hospital after being injured by lawn mowers.

As always, however, we can console ourselves that we are not American. As per the 2010 edition of the US Statistical Abstract, 205,000 citizens of that great nation were injured by household packaging and containers, 319,000 were mutilated by chairs, and an astonishing 60,000 were wounded by their own televisions. God Bless America.