Entries in New Zealand (4)


Man Survives Freak Accident That Inflated Him Like Balloon

Thinkstock/Getty Images(WHAKATANE, New Zealand) -- A New Zealand truck driver survived a freak accident with an air tank that inflated him like a balloon to twice his normal size.

On Saturday, Steven McCormack, 48, ended up in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Whakatane, a town on the North Island's east coast. As McCormack was standing on the rigging between his truck and trailer while working at Waiotahi Contractors, he slipped and fell onto a brass valve that was connecting the truck's brakes to the compressed air supply. The nozzle pierced his left buttock and air rushed into his body at 100 pounds per square inch.

"In a matter of minutes, my body blew to twice its size," McCormack told New Zealand's 3News.

His boss, Robbie Petersen, witnessed the accident and said, "He became more and more distressed and his whole body -- his face, his eyes started to close -- started to swell."

As the air pumped and he began to scream, co-workers struggled to pull him off of the nozzle. They managed to stop the air supply and put him on his side. It was an hour before paramedics arrived.

"I was blowing up like a football," recalled McCormack to 3News. "I had no choice but just to lie there, blowing up like a balloon."

When paramedics tried to insert a needle for a drip, the pressure from the air pushed the needle out. They were also unable to give him air through a tube in his nostrils.

Doctors say the air filled his abdomen and chest, as well as the space around his heart, lungs, and even behind his eyelids. The air separated his fat from his muscles and compressed his heart.

After being rushed to the hospital, a team of doctors put a hose through his ribs to get air to his lungs. Though doctors were able to get fluid out of him, the air had to come out the natural ways, resulting in an enormous case of flatulence. It took McCormack three days to go back to his normal size.

McCormack suffered no broken bones and no bruises, just a hole from where he was punctured. Leaving the hospital, he said, "I really feel like the Michelin Man."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Young Children Need Sleep to Reduce Risk of Being Overweight

Jupiterimages/Pixland(DUNEDIN, New Zealand) -- Studies in the past have shown that for adults, a lack of sleep can be associated with an increase in body weight, and new research finds that the same is true in children.

The authors of a study out of New Zealand followed almost 250 children from ages 3 to 7.  At 3, 4, and 5 years of age, the children slept an average of 11 hours per night. But the fewer hours the children slept, the greater their risk was of having a higher body mass index at age seven.

Researchers also calculated that every additional hour of sleep was associated with a 61-percent reduction in the risk of being overweight or obese at seven years old.

The authors suggest that reduced sleep may increase food consumption and could have a negative impact on children’s activity levels.

Their findings can be found in the British Medical Journal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Survey: Americans Have Highest Risk of Developing Bipolar Disorder

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(GENEVA) -- People in the United States have the highest risk of developing bipolar disorder, according to a new survey of 11 countries released Monday.

The World Health Organization surveyed more than 61,000 people from countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia, and found that the U.S. took the top spot with an estimated 4.4 percent of its population at risk for developing the disorder in their lifetime.  New Zealand followed in second place with 3.9 percent of its population at risk.

The lowest rates were seen in developing countries such as India, with a prevalence of 0.1 percent.   But this lower rate may reflect the stigma associated with mental disorders rather than actual lower rates of such disorders.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Love Hurts: Hickey Paralyzes Woman in New Zealand

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(AUCKLAND, New Zealand) -- Love hurts.  An overly enthusiastic hickey from a New Zealand woman's partner landed her in the hospital with a minor stroke.

The 44-year-old Maori woman was brought to Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand with a paralyzed left arm, doctors reported in a case study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal in November.  Doctors were puzzled by her symptoms until they realized that there had been a clot in an artery on the right side of her neck beneath where she still showed the bruising of a hickey.

"Because it was a love bite, there would be a lot of suction.  Because of the physical trauma, it had made a bit of bruising inside the vessel" causing a clot, Dr. Teddy Wu, who treated the patient, told the New Zealand press.  The clot apparently resulted in a stroke.

This appears to be the only documented case of a hickey-related stroke, but in general, getting hurt in the heat of passion is not that uncommon, doctors say.

A 2010 UK poll found that a third of the British reported having had a sex-related injury, most often involving non-traditional settings for sex, such as on stairs, over kitchen tables, or in closets.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio