Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A killer stalks the ward

Not for a moment did I think I might be in danger while staying here under the care of the NHS. The nurses and doctors take great efforts to shield me from infection and nasty things like used needles or overdoses of drugs. I mean, things have got so good these days some doctors even wash their hands and tuck their ties in their shirts before examining you.

But all that care isn’t worth a row of beans while a vicious and dangerous killer stalks the wards of the nation’s homes and hospitals. Of course, I’m talking about… biscuits.

There’s nothing we Brits like more than a nice sit down and a cup of tea to dunk our afternoon biscuits in. However, a recent survey carried out by Mindlab International discovered that half of all Britons had at some time been injured by a biscuit, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Seriously! I’m not making this stuff up. The injuries suffered ranged from breaking teeth on biscuits to scalding mouths on hot tea or coffee while dunking said biscuits. A staggering 25 million people have so far been affected by these ruthless snacks with more than 500 individuals being hospitalised by various types of cookies.

And which biscuit is the worst offender? Step forward the humble Custard Cream It’s always the quiet ones you have to watch. This popular biscuit is routinely handed out on the ward at teatime along with chocolate Bourbons. The Custard Cream beat 15 other biscuit types to take the crown of killer cookie, with a risk index rating of 5.63. The safest biscuits were Jaffa Cakes with a much safer score of 1.16.

Up to one third of adults also reported that they’d had suffered a serious mishap when dunking a Digestive or trying to fish the remnants of a collapsed ‘Diggie’ from their teacup. Even more worrying is the 28 per cent of those surveyed who had choked on crumbs and the one in ten who had broken a tooth or filling while biting a biscuit.

However, perhaps most concerning of all were the three per cent of people who had managed to poke themselves in the eye with a biscuit. Even more bizarrely were the seven per cent who managed to be bitten by a pet or “other wild animal” trying to snatch their biscuits.

Mindlab International director Dr David Lewis said: “We tested the physical properties of 15 popular biscuit types, along with aspects of their consumption such as ‘dunkability’ and crumb dispersal.”

With all these dangers existing in our local hospital, I find it impossible to believe that some elf ’n’safety Nazi hasn’t spotted this ‘accident waiting to happen’ and banned Custard Creams from the ward. I think I’m going to stick to cake if I want to get out of here in one piece.


  1. Matilde from Sydney29 September 2009 at 05:38

    But the custard creams appear to be the most edible thing in the hospital!

  2. I have been trying to persuade my husband that we should drive back to the UK in April and I've already started writig out a list of all the things to buy and bring back with us. Custard creams are there at no 14 on the list under a vsague heading of biscuits, if he reads this he will be convinced I'm up to no good. Can you keep an eye out and see what happens to anyone eating these damned weapons and publish the results so that I can decide on their future on on my list. If you were really cruel you could get in touch with jacobs and offer to work for them as a researcher - well you have the qualifications!! Take care and lets hope for a repeat of Mondays offerings. Ruth SW France
    p.s. WV retalic and then rapide!!!!

  3. Never had a problem with custard creams, worst offender is a digestive biscuit, mine seem to disintegrate as soon as it reaches the liquid tea, and I spend a lot of time fishing about in the liquid, in the vain hope I can retrieve the soggy mess, I fail every time.

    I dare not ask sir, though go on, I will be brave, what does breakfast consist of?.

  4. Has anything been said about fruit? Fruit can kill you too, but honestly it tastes better. I'd rather be killed by an apple than a biscuit. "Killed by cookie" sounds too girlish for me, I'm a grown woman.

  5. Breakfast is the same 7 days a week. A choice of cornflakes, branflakes or weetabix followed by thin cold toast with the texture of carpet tiles.

  6. Wish I had not asked about breakfast, how difficult can it be to ruin toast.

  7. For goodness sake. Don't give Labour any ideas. They'll end up Banning Biscuits under the H & S Act!!!

  8. Don't worry, Sue. They've got alcohol, meat and sex to ban first. Biscuits will be way down the banning list.

  9. Breakfast has arrived. Thicker toast this morning which no longer has the texture of carpet tiles. This time it's more like eating a woollen balaclava! Yum.

  10. *huge sigh*

    You do know that hospitals are not hotels don't you?
    You also know that if nurses are making the toast then it is a little hard to make individual toast one slice at a time for everyone.
    When I trained to be a nurse, we had to boil the eggs, Have you ever tried to boil eggs for 27 people and get the timing right? A little impossible. Invariably they were all hard boiled - I am sure that you could say some suitably cutting remarks about that.
    You have toast and a choice of 3 cereals for breakfast. There is nothing wrong with that.
    The NHS cannot afford to give people croisants and full English.
    Unless all of you whingers are prepared to pay a small amount for your food and I bet none of you are prepared to do that, the food will not change because it is catering done on a mass scale on a small budget.
    No far better to make snide remarks on here.

  11. I am Distraught. Biscuits are my life. I can see I will now have to revert to sex. Honestly, is nothing sacred?

  12. Huge sigh... Try to get some humour in your life. And why can't the NHS afford better food? I've paid a king's ransome in tax and NI over the years. As for paying extra, I didn't think the NhS liked co-payments or top up funding.

  13. "However, perhaps most concerning of all were the three per cent of people who had managed to poke themselves in the eye with a biscuit."

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!! Thank you, that has made my day so much more enjoyable, I'll just have a bite of my... OW! @#$%!!

  14. I read about the biscuits on another forum I was on. Jaffa Cakes, bisuits apparently, are the safest ones to eat so there you go.

    Digestives ALWAYS disintegrate on contact with tea or coffee.

    TM, think yourself lucky to get toast! When I was in last year they didn't do toast anymore. We got a very plastic roll instead!

    When I was student on Geriatrics, they weren't allowed toast. They had to make do with marmalade sandwiches. Oh yes. And the tea came with milk already in it!!!! So, no hope if you wanted it without!

    At least on paediatrics I was able to make my son toast when he was ready for it and not when someone told him he had to eat. I am not looking forward to him making the move to adult services next year!

  15. "Unless all of you whingers are prepared to pay a small amount for your food and I bet none of you are prepared to do that, the food will not change because it is catering done on a mass scale on a small budget."

    Er... isn''t that called tax and NI? Of which I pay a few hundred every month.

    I remember coming out of hospital back in sunny 2002 with heart problems, and then immediately having to go on a diet prescribed by my GP because of malnutrition.

    Hospitals aren't hotels, I agree. But where is it more important to get good food?

  16. Good morning TM.

    Have not dared have breakfast (yoghurt - presents a grave danger to clothes) yet but did eat chocolate caramel biscuit en route to work - teeth still intact!

    Of more immediate concern was random attack by my stapler - I attacked it straight back with the letter opener, it's the only way to deal with these matters!

    Regards from Cats Mother

  17. Hi TM, how are you, I remember you had a sore throat a few days ago. I hope the doctors will have good news for you and that there will be arriving some nice food for you. Take care! If the biscuits start biting you, bite back. Greetings from Styria! Barbara

  18. Porridge here also for breakfast. maybe just in Scotland? It comes in two flasks - ugh. breakfast here is the three cereals, porridge, toast and you can get a roll with jam or marmalade (and flora or butter). Not too bad at all. I think what a lot of people forget is that the food served is of psychological benefit as well as er physical.

    If you are stuck in a hospital bed you look forward to meals to break the monotony and how much better would you feel with a pleasing plate like TM got yesterday rather than with the usual car crash. Nobody expects restaurant class food. Just food that is edible, hot and vaguely nutritious. If you are ill you need something to tempt you. Not something to depress you. Mind, it was always fun seeing exactly what the caterers thought macaroni cheese etc was. At least you got a laugh sometimes even if you went hungry

  19. Perhaps we should ask for one of these to get delivered to TM. I'm sure by now he'll probably need the extra nutrients that only this can give.


  20. I'm embarassed to say that I am one of the three percenters. And it has happened more than once. Many more times. It's a wonder I'm not blind!

  21. Maxxxie - HOW? Seriously, how does a biscuit end up anywhere near your eyes? Inquiring minds are really pretty stumped on this one.

  22. Buscuit of the week


    Jill, Northern Ireland

  23. Peter Kay and biscuits


    Hey TM hope this makes you laff.... it did me

    Keep up the good work and I hope your feeling better


  24. Wow.. just.. wow.

    Death by biscuit. How lovely.

  25. One time when I was in hospital,I had an "out of body experience". I was looking down at myself laying in bed and thought WTF? So I drifted round the corner to a "local", had a few "out of body "pints,played some "out of body" darts,a bit of "out of body" karaoke and on the way back had curry and chips. I got back just in time for tea and custard creams.

  26. OMG! Killer Custard Creams! Dangerous Digestives!

    As for Anonymous at "Huge sigh" 07:52. Sometimes with people like you around, the fun never starts does it?

  27. Note to "Huge sigh ". Why dont you slip into something comfortable ...... like a COMA !


  28. did they pay someone to do this pointless piece of research? Perhaps they should have invested the money in an investigation into why hospital food is so inedible instead. Don't tell gordy and the rest of nu labour, including that scary one who isn't an MP - I call him darth vader but I think his real name is peter mandleson, the one who is the PM in all but name - they will try to slap mor tax on it. You've heard green tax - this will be cookie tax

  29. That's so good, Ness, I'm going to have to pinch it at some point.

    @Bonnie Did you see Mandelbum's speech at the Labour Party Conference? He said: 'if I can come back, we can comeback'. What's so clever about coming back? Most of my food does that at the moment!