Emergency rooms are serious business. Casualty staff spend too many nights dealing with the kind of trauma that would have most of us making a safety suit out of bubble wrap, before leaving the house ever again. While some cases are serious, others induce giggles from sleep-deprived hospital staff when their patients aren’t looking.

Take these hilarious, not-so-serious, South African casualty ward cases, for example:

Mishap #1: Hold your Breath!

Curiosity didn’t kill his cat, but it did take a Johannesburg man’s breath away one bored afternoon.  Dane* got the sudden and inexplicable urge to open up his plastic chlorine pool cleaner and see what was inside. One whiff of the contents kicked off a never-ending coughing fit and a hasty trip to the emergency room. Dane’s peak inside the chlorine tub was enough to burn his throat and lungs like hotwings on steroids.  Moral of the story: don’t open it, Google it.

Mishap #2: Check the Label

A joyful Christmas mass in Cape Town was abruptly interrupted when one of the congregation members fell to his knees. Quickly realising her husband wasn’t overcome with the need to pray mid-Christmas carol, she rushed him to the hospital, convinced he was having a heart attack. The woozy patient had casualty staff baffled until tests came back showing he’d taken sleeping tablets. The man had meant to take allergy medication to avoid sniffing in church but didn’t check the label. His wife complained that the rest of their Christmas was a silent night.

Mishap #3 Hiding the Evidence

A concerned mother brought her son in to see a doctor as he’d been complaining that he couldn’t hear properly out of one ear. After a quick look in with his light, the doctor burst out laughing and said the four words nobody wants to hear in the medical seat: “You’ve gotta see this!” Turns out the boy needed a place to hide his chocolate wrapper and figured nobody would search his ear. A few days later he forgot all about his secret sweet treat and couldn’t understand why he was going deaf. At least he didn’t litter...

 Still think you can do without medical aid? If so, we suggest you invest in some bubble wrap.