Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7386.456 (Published 22 February 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:456

Humans are still way ahead of sharks in the competition to be top predator. Last year, while thousands of sharks were eaten by people, only 60 people were bitten by sharks, 20% fewer than the previous year. The international file on shark attacks, compiled in Florida, reported only three deaths worldwide (www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Sharks/Statistics/2002attacksummary.htm). Sharks have always preferred surfers to other water users (56% of attacks), but the odds against injury are still stacked in the surfers' favour.

If you are still worried about sharks, why not try snowboarding instead? No shark attacks were reported among snowboarders last year, though there are plenty of other ways to hurt yourself. This month's British Journal of Sports Medicine reports two cases of chronic subdural haematoma, presenting several weeks after unremarkable bumps on the head (2003;37:82-3). Both patients were fine after burr hole surgery.

Nova Scotia has no hospices, so patients with terminal cancer must die in hospital or at home. Ten years ago, four fifths of patients with cancer died in hospital. Most still do, but there is a measurable trend towards death at home—a 52% increase between 1992 and 1997 (Canadian Medical Association Journal 2003;168:265-70). The researchers who reported it suspect the trend has something to do with closing hospital beds. They also say, however, that …

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