Blistering price of work

November 29, 2002

The following is a cautionary tale for male academics working long hours on their laptops. A letter to The Lancet last week told of how a 50-year-old scientist burnt his penis after spending an hour at home working on a report with the computer on his lap.

Trousers and underpants did not protect the previously healthy father-of-two from injury. He noticed a redness and irritation the following day but it wasn't until he was examined by a doctor that the extent of the damage became apparent.

Claes-Gorn Ostenson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden wrote: "The ventral part of his scrotal skin had turned red and there was a blister with a diameter of about 2cm." Two days later, the blisters broke and the wounds became infected but after a week the scientist was "healing quite rapidly".

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