Swedish hospital to ban ‘Foppatoffels’

Blekinge Hospital is to ban the use of the popular Crocs, or 'Foppatoffel', slippers. Experts warn that the plastic shoes can become charged with such high levels of static electricity that they risk interfering with important electronic equipment.

Crocs slippers are widely known in Sweden as Foppatoffels, since they are imported to the country by ice hockey legend Peter ‘Foppa’ Forsberg.

The style police have already objected to the arrival of Crocs on Swedish shores, arguing that the country’s most famous ice hockey star should have left the slippers where he found them.

But the hospital in southern Sweden has its own non-aesthetic reasons for banning Foppatoffels, according to newspaper Dagens Medicin

The problem was first detected in February when respiratory equipment used for two premature babies shut itself off and on for no immediately apparent reason.

Technical staff at the hospital soon began to suspect however that the Foppatoffels worn by many members of staff may have caused the equipment to malfunction.

“Everybody generates static electricity. But it usually loses its charge, either by disappearing through one’s shoes or elsewhere,” hospital spokesman Björn Löfqvist told Dagens Medicin.

But because the Foppatoffel is made of plastic, it acts as an insulator and the hospital estimates that the slippers can become charged with as much as 25,000 volts of electricity.

“We are going to recommend that hospital management bans these slippers. There have more than likely been more incidents – both here and at other hospitals – where people have not made the connection with Foppatoffels,” said Björn Löfqvist.

Crocs slippers were banned from a hospital in Norway last month for the same reasons.