The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.
Gutsy Explosions in the Northern Hemisphere
compiled by A.S. Kaswell and S. Drew, AIR staff
Here is a brief and somewhat haphazardly selected guide to some unfortunate, and probably embarrassing, explosions of a particular type.
Boom (Italy, 1952)
“Unusual Complication in Electrosurgery: Explosion of Gases in the Cecum During Operation of Cecal Fistula” [article in Italian], G. Pezzuoli and C. Ghiringhelli, L’Ospedale Maggiore, vol. 40, no. 9, September 1952, pp. 443-6.
Boom (Spain, 1964)
“Pneumatic Explosion of the Cecum in Patients with Carcinoma of the Colon” [article in Spanish], N. Antonelli and E. Borenstein, Prensa Medica Argentina, vol. 51, October 23, 1964, pp. 999-1002.
Boom (Germany, 1974)
“Intestinal Gas Explosion As a Rare Cause of Traumatic Colon Perforation” [article in German], F.J. Stucker and H. Molzberger, Chirurg, vol. 45, no. 8, August 1974, pp. 373-5.
Boom (America, 1974)
“Explosions of Colonic Gas,” B.H. Rogers, New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 291, no. 20, November 1974, p. 1089.
Left: Mrs. Casey, the wife of the minister to the Australian Legation in Washington, D.C., and two children studying global phenomena in 1942. Photo: Marjory Collins, courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Boom (Denmark, 1978)
“Intestinal Explosion During the Use of Diathermy” [article in Danish], N.J. Olsen and V. Berg, Ugeskrift for Laeger, vol. 140, no. 31, July 1978, pp. 1890-1.
Boom (Japan, 1985)
“Gas Explosion During Diathermy Colotomy,” N. Shinagawa, et al., British Journal of Surgery, vol. 72, no. 4, April 1985, p. 306.
Boom (Israel, 1992)
“Diathermy-Induced Gas Explosion in the Intestinal Tract” [article in Hebrew], E. Gross, et al., Harefuah, vol. 123, nos. 1-2, July 1992, pp. 12-3.
Boom (Scotland, 1996)
“Gas Explosion During Colonic Surgery,” J.H. De Wilt, et al., Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, vol. 41, no. 6, December 1996, p. 419.
Boom (France, 2003)
“Intestinal Gas Explosion During Operation: A Case Report,” [article in French], G. Bouhours, et al., Annales Françaises d’Anesthesie et de Reanimation, vol. 22, no. 4, April 2003, pp. 366-8.
* * *
This type of explosion sometimes raises questions which, being unusual, can be unsettling.
“Colonic Gas Explosion -- Is a Fire Extinguisher Necessary?” J.H. Bond and M.D. Levitt, Gastroenterology, vol. 77, no. 6, December 1979, pp. 1349-50.
Right: Fred D. Fagg, Jr., Chief of the Air Commerce Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce, looking at globe, photo taken some time between 1920 and 1950. The telephone was used for communications. Photo: Theodor Horydczak, courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Kersplat / Kaboom
“Unusual Blast Colonic Injury Due to a Fall,” E.O. Fashakin and P.A. Ajayi, Tropical Gastroenterology, vol. 12, no. 2, April-June 1991, pp. 83-6. The authors explain that:
Blast injuries are caused by bomb blasts, intracolonic explosion of gases after diathermy, over-enthusiastic bowel insufflation at sigmoidoscopy or by pressure hose applied to the anus. We report the case of a 28-year old man with an unusual blast injury of the colon following a fall from a colanut tree.
This article is republished with permission from the May-June 2005 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!
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