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Swedish nurse suffers burns after hand gel rub

A nurse at an eldercare home in Norrbotten in northern Sweden was left with burns to her left hand as residual traces of an alcohol-based hand disinfectant caught fire while pushing a trolley.

Swedish nurse suffers burns after hand gel rub

One theory being entertained for the unfortunate incident is that the static electricity generated by the nurse in touching the metal trolley caused sparks to fly and the disinfectant to burn.

“I have never heard of anything like this,” Åsa Sjöström at the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) to local newspaper, Norrlänska Socialdemokraten.

The nurse, who is employed at an eldercare home in Vittangi in Kiruna in the far north of Sweden, escaped from her ordeal with only minor burns to her left hand.

The nurse was able to extinguish the fire herself with the help of her jeans waistcoat.

Before the alcohol based disinfectant began burning in a blue flame over her hand, the nurse had stroked a dog and received a visit from a patient bearing synthetic trousers.

These are the factors supporting the theory that static electricity caused the disinfectant to set alight.

“This is what we think after our layman’s assessment of the incident. Our security staff and the nurse in charge of medical issues will continue the investigation,” said Per-Erik Baas at Kiruna county council.

The council has reported the matter to the Work Environment Authority and has also contacted the manufacturer of the product, Lehaga Kemi AB in Helsingborg.

The product is on sale at state pharmacy Apoteket and is considered one of the more effective weapons in the fight against the spread of swine flu.

Neither Apoteket nor Lehaga Kemi have ever heard of any similar incident involving the disinfectant.

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OFFBEAT

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim

Police on the island of Gotland removed a public sculpture from the Galgberget nature reserve near Visby on the grounds that it is just too creepy.

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim
The gallows at Galgeberget. Photo: Artifex/WikiCommons
According to local news site Hela Gotland, someone was out for a stroll on Galgeberget (the Gallows Hill) on Wednesday when they saw what they thought was a body hanging after a suicide. Local police were contacted but when they went to investigate they instead found a sculpture by artist Jessica Lundeberg. 
 
The artwork, entitled ‘The Watcher in the Woods’, is a partially transparent plate sculpture that looks like a spooky little girl. 
 
 
Despite discovering that the suspected suicide victim was actually artwork, police determined that Lundeberg’s piece could scare others and thus took the sculpture down. 
 
“It was decided that if it were to remain, more people would likely be frightened in the same way,” Gotland police spokesman Ayman Aboulaich told Radio P4 Gotland. 
 
Lundeberg told Hela Gotland that the sculpture has been at Galgeberget since a public art project last summer and that this was the first time it had caused any concern. She said ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ was the only piece that was allowed to remain after the end of the project. But now it is there no more. 
 
 
Lundeberg has taken the sculpture back to her studio. While she hopes it will eventually return to Galgeberget, the artist told Hela Gotland it seems unlikely.  
 
She said that the sculpture was damaged by police. 
 
“It was ragged, dismantled and broken. I was horrified when I saw it,” she said. 
 
Police have reportedly promised to pay any necessary repair costs.
 
Although the person who reported the sculpture to the police has not spoken with the media, their jump to conclusions could perhaps be attributed to the nature reserve’s macabre history. Galgeberget is still home to gallows that were used to hang criminals for centuries. The last execution to be held at the site was in 1845, according to Hela Gotland
 
 
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