It’s Friday the 13th LITFLers… so of course this week’s FFFF will test your knowledge on all types of fearfulness related to this inauspicious date.
So, lets get this Friday the 13th off to a friggin’ good start!
What is the medical term for fear of Friday the 13th?
- Frigga is the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia means fear of the number thirteen.
- An estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of Friday the 13th… whatever that means.
Roach, John. “Friday the 13th Phobia Rooted in Ancient History”. National Geographic News, 2004.
Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed on Friday 13th of October 1972. What made this crash particularly notorious?
- The act of anthrophagy.
- In order to survive the crash in the harsh environment of the Andes, the living crash victims resorted to eating the flesh of the deceased, starting with the pilot (!).
- This amazing tale of survival was portrayed in the 1993 film Alive.
- Anyone eating veal tonight? (see this Guardian article on what human flesh tastes like)
Wikipedia. 1972 Andes Flight Disaster
Should emergency physicians fear going to work on Friday the 13th?
- Probably not… or at least not more than usual!
- In a retrospective study Lo et al (2012) found that of 13 types of presentations, only penetrating trauma had increased presentations on Friday the 13th. In Alice Springs that would presumably mean that everyone in the town will have to get stabbed at least twice today… (see this ABC news article on the stabbing capital of the world)
- There have been a few low quality studies suggesting that there are increased rates of traffic-related injuries on Friday the 13th (you can do your own Pubmed search for more), but insurance people would probably know best (given their strong motivation not to lose money). According to the CVS (Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics):”fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home. Statistically speaking, driving is slightly safer on Friday the 13th, at least in the Netherlands; in the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7,800 traffic accidents each Friday; but the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7,500.”
Lo BM, Visintainer CM, Best HA, Beydoun HA. Answering the myth: use of emergency services on Friday the 13th. Am J Emerg Med. 2012 Jul;30(6):886-9. Epub 2011 Aug 19. PubMed PMID: 21855260.
Which patients are prone to toxicity from the 13th element, and how does toxicity manifest?
- Patients prone to aluminium toxicity are dialysis patients treated with aluminium-contaminated dialysate or who are taking daily oral phosphate-binding agents. Patients receiving long-term TPN are also at risk.
- Clinical presentation is usually non-specific. Presentations may include proximal muscle weakness, bone pain, multiple nonhealing fractures, acute or subacute alteration in mental status, anemia and premature osteoporosis. Most patients have some degree of renal disease, and most are on hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.
- Also, ask specifically about the supplemental use of oral aluminum hydroxide.
- Treatment of aluminum toxicity includes elimination of aluminum from the diet, TPN, dialysate, medications, antiperspirants, and an attempt at the elimination and chelation of the element from the body’s stores (e.g. desferrioxamine).
- Note that in some parts of the world, where people speak in a degenerate tongue, the second ‘i’ in aluminium tends to go missing.
Emedicine. Aluminum toxicity.
What is Genovese syndrome?
- Genovese syndrome is also known as The Bystander Effect.
- It is the phenomenon whereby individuals do not offer any means of help in an emergency situation to the victim when other people are present. The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help.
- The term Genovese Syndrome comes from the case of Kitty Genovese, who was raped and murdered on Friday the 13th of March, 1964. This is case that stimulated research into this psychological phenomenon — although its significance as an example of the Bystander Effect was probably blown out proportion by the initial newspaper reports and has become ‘more parable than fact’.
- The Bystander Effect should not be confused with SOCMOB: “Standing On Corner, Minding Own Business” – referencing an assault victim who is lying about their injuries to avoid discussing their own illicit acts at the time of the attack (from the UCEM Medical Acronym Dictionary).
Manning R, Levine M, Collins A. The Kitty Genovese murder and the social psychology of helping: The parable of the 38 witnesses”. American Psychologist. 2007; 62 (6): 555–562. DOI:10.1037/0003-066X.62.6.555. PMID: 17874896
Check out Jo Deverrill’s freaky FFFF 084 for more Friday the 13th medical trivia.
And if all this isn’t funtabulous enough for you, try this: