Wed, Mar 30, 2005 - Page 6 News List

Britons injured by centipedes, beds, melting nightwear

AFP , LONDON

Two people were injured by centipedes, and no fewer than 22 suffered mishaps involving nightwear. The UK is a perilous place in all sorts of unusual ways, according to new statistics on hospital admissions.

The Department of Health figures, reported in The Times newspaper yesterday edition, also included people requiring hospital treatment in the UK for accidents which happened overseas.

Thus, of the near-million people seen by emergency hospital staff in the 12 months to April last year, six had been stung by scorpions, along with the 451 stung by hornets and 24 bitten by rats.

The house was no haven, with nine needing treatment for accidents with their beds and 22 exposed to "ignition or melting of nightwear," usually due to cigarettes or faulty electric blankets.

Other unusual problems which burdened the state-run National Health Service included nine people who experienced "accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed" and a child who attended hospital after a "prolonged stay in a weightless environment."

A Department of Health spokesman told The Times that the precise accident categories were set by the UN's World Health Organization, and could only speculate that the weightlessness might have been caused by a fairground ride.

In the natural world, 37 people were admitted as "victims of volcanic eruption," and 207 needed treatment after "coming into contact with plant thorns, spines and sharp leaves."

Among more traditional accidents, those involving non-power tools such as hammers affected 4,115 people, while around 2,000 more -- mainly children -- fell out of trees.

The data for admissions also included 138 people who had foreign objects left in their bodies following surgery, the newspaper said.

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