No sympathy.

My third grandfather (long story) had to have an oxygen tank beside him in his later years. He never smoked. All he did was grow old. These days, illegally old. He was so old he attended the funeral of one of his his sons, who was also old but a bit less old, obviously. The NHS would have put him on the Stairway to Liverpool if he was alive now. Lucky for him, he died years ago, in the days when doctors actually gave a shit.

It was a good thing he didn’t smoke. Having elevated oxygen around you increases the chances of something catching fire. It’s not the oxygen that burns. It’s the combination of other material with oxygen that results in fire. You can’t oxidise oxygen. Well, not in your living room.

Oxygen also doesn’t explode – not when it’s in free air anyway. Any pressurised tank will explode in a fire and if it’s full of oxygen, it will send that fire to a level that only an LSD user will have seen before.

So it’s a bit strange to hear that someone exploded their oxygen supply with a cigarette. Sure, smoking – or any combustion source – near an oxygen supply is a bad idea. Oxygen will make combustion much more effective. Your cigarettes will burn away in no time and if you touch anything combustible with them, they are far more likely to catch.

But – explode? Into an inferno that had been fully extinguished before the fire brigade arrived?

I have a great deal of sympathy for this poor woman, as have most of her neighbours who describe her and her family as very pleasant people. The commenters are of a different view. There is the standard smug git, of course:

SKM85, London, UK, 5 hours ago – Smoking kills

He is there every time. And there is this:

Wheresoeverimaybe, Landgraaf, Netherlands, 5 hours ago
OMG what is the world coming too, no wonder the N.H.S. is in crisis if they are giving every one still smoking oxygen bottles, maybe it’s a ploy to keep them in business unfortunately the politicians have other ideas. Maybe a pair of glasses would be better next time so she could read the “keep away from a naked flame” sign that I’m sure was some where on the apparatus!

Sigh. So apart from the stench that identifies us despite the latest shop-baker only finding out I was a smoker after several months – she happened to be leaving while I was out for a puff – we smokers are now to be identified by the wearing of Scuba-style tanks and breathing apparatus. Provided by the NHS and paid for by smoking taxes. Hell, I paid smoketax for many years – I want one. In fact, two. One filled with acetylene and one of those torch thingies. And the Ned Kelly mask with the black glass. I’ll find something to use it on. Political canvassers, probably.

Since she happens to enjoy a smoke (and has therefore paid far more into the NHS than she will ever get out of it) she must be denied treatment so Worthy Ones can get their anti-zit cream for free and spend three hours moaning to the nodding dog in the doctor’s chair about other people’s lives.

It’s sickening, but they can’t and won’t see that. These are vicious, spite-driven morons whose only redeeming feature is that their minds have been mercifully spared from the ravages of intelligence. If they are like this now, imagine what they’d be like if they were actually capable of thinking.

Fortunately they are not:

Clowning around, london, United Kingdom, 6 hours ago
Oxygen mask? she must have severe lung disease yet still smoking? no wonder the NHS is on its knees…Giving with one hand and the work, money and effort to save lives being taken away with the other

The money for the entire NHS, you idiot, comes from a small part of the tax take from tobacco duties. The rest is also wasted.

I used to buy large gas tanks for work. Five/six feet tall, not the little pocket-sized ones. We had a special steel trolley to move them around and a dirty great spanner to fit the regulators. Oxygen was one of the cheap ones. The tanks are obviously refillable, only the gas really costs anything. Those little tanks Grandpa Three used to get would have cost about a tenner, at most, at the time. Probably not much more now.

She must be on oxygen for lung problems, that’s pretty certain but:

sherbert, Scotland, United Kingdom, 6 hours ago
Wow how daft can you get? Probably on the oxygen due to smoking in the first place. Hope your bad habit was worth it.

Really? A diagnosis from prejudice? You should sign up for the NHS, Sherbert. They’d make you a consultant. Then you could be a self-righteous dick on a better salary.

Maybe she has a non-smoking-related breathing problem? Oh, but they don’t exist. The NHS banned them all. Maybe she does have a smoking-related problem, Hell, everything from alopecia to zoonosis is smoking related now so why not? And so what? She’s paid in more than she’ll ever cost. We all have.

The reply to the above is madder still:

Kate, England, 5 hours ago
believe it or not people try to smoke in hospital too, despite oxygen being piped into the rooms!

Nobody smokes in hospital, it is not allowed, even in the grounds of most of them. You’re better off leaving the grounds for a smoke anyway, the more often the better, less chance of catching the nasties they have growing in there now.

As for ‘oxygen piped into the rooms’, that’s called ‘air’ and it comes in through doors, windows and the modern ubiquitous leaks. Oxygen is not piped in to anywhere.

It is easier to understand the thought processes of a fungus than to think down to the level of these people. And I type as one who has finished the three-quarters remnant bottle of last night’s Whyte and Mackay and dented tonight’s Glen Orchy, while smoking all the while. (tomorrow is ‘day off’ – I hope) And they call us ‘stupid’! I can’t get my IQ down to their level even if my liver ends up in a jar on an astounded coroner’s desk and my pickled brain ends up baffling PhD neurology students for the next century.

Which they still might.

You know what’s really horrifying? These samples I have picked are from the currently best rated comments. A woman, a pleasant woman with a pleasant family by the Daily Mail’s own confession, has suffered a terrible accident and the spite-driven comments are the best rated. What disgusting people this country now produces.

You want to see one of the currently worst rated ones?

clairec, northumberland, United Kingdom, 9 hours ago
Poor woman I hope she makes a full recovery

That is one of the worst rated comments. That says it all about the people of the UK now, doesn’t it?

They are waiting for a hero to save them. Why would anyone save them? They are not worth saving. Thanks to Blair and Cameron and the saggy-faced one in the middle who looked rather like B.H. Calcutta (failed), and all the political leaders of our time (yes, Salmond, you too, you short fat pompous useless escapee from an old Popeye cartoon) it is just fine and dandy to hate someone who does not deserve it just because they live in a way the Great NHS does not approve of. Shut the damn thing down before it kills us all.

I think at least one out there would agree.

The NHS used to be about caring for the sick. Now it’s not about caring at all. It’s just about control. What the hell use is that?

It had its time. Its time is over. It’s just no use any more.


33 thoughts on “No sympathy.

  1. I don’t know what’s happened to my country or some of the people, maybe I am getting old but it was never like this in the past. My own experience with the NHS has been good but so much depends on where you live and how good you are at being your own advocate. That said having had experience of the continental system when I lived in then West Germany, it was infinitely better. In one day I saw a GP had X-Ray and went straight to a specialist who diagnosed the problem which had eluded the NHS for two years. Now it seems only a matter of time before all deaths are ‘smoking related’ one way or another so no need to treat them. The above story is disgusting and I am ashamed of these people.


    • Pretty much everything I did as a child is banned now, and some would get an armed police response. The country is full of scared-of-shadows weaklings. I’m not going to try to harden them up. I’m going to do my best to terrify them to death.

      Natural selection, I call it.


      • I’ve left it too late for Christmas (but Easter is coming up in a bit) for making a card which plays the “Always look on the birght side of life” from ‘Life of Brian’, but I shall, I shall. I have some christians to annoy, you see.


  2. Screw the NHS. The DELIBERATELY didn’t treat me, or even tell me the diagnosis for over 18 months, preventing me from getting any treatment or self-treating, leaving me permanatly disabled.

    I don’t care if they burn the whole ediface down and start again, this time without the pointless bean counters, smoking managers and other wastes of O2.


    • Same here. Total refusal of treatment then told to find a new GP practice when complained, but my MSP had been working on my behalf with the local health board and it was obvious there would have been no point, so I have given up on the NHS.

      A dear old friend of mine had shaking hands – really shaky most of the time. She also suffers from nerves. The doctor put the shaking down to the nerves (how could someone be that nervous almost constantly?) and it took a whole year for him to diagnose Parkinson’s. This same doctor put her on two conflicting medications.

      Useless, pathetic doctors – probably commenting on Daily Mail articles between patients…

      As Dr Dunbar (I think he gave up being a GP in the NHS in the 70s, he could see where it was going) told me on Frank Davis’ blog that we should blame the Dept of Health as everyone is basically obeying orders, but I’m sure they aren’t ordered to be rude, arrogant, ignorant of medication and fail to recognise basic symptoms of common diseases.

      The NHS now exists to control, subvert, collect information for the government and kill.


  3. Good point about whether the damned country is worth saving now. Rather the people in it I mean. Spiteful, self-righteous, corrupt, etc. Not all of them though.

    Those large cylinders of oxygen, the black five foot sized ones for light industry currently cost about 32 quid. Plus the tax of course. Oh and plus a £2.10 ‘energy charge’ (which is also then taxed), which I presume is something to do with ‘climate’ but cunningly worded.

    I do have to concede that ‘medical oxygen’ of greater purity and, I suppose, cleanliness will cost more.

    You can splatter those cylinders with huge amounts of sparks and they take a fair amount of clanging and rolling around too. You can also smoke by the side of them and, if everything is set up right, nothing will happen. Of course one has to be aware of the bright-red or maroon cylinders that oxygen cylinders are often paired with. They’re the latent bombs, although they’ll take showers of sparks and the odd clang well enough too.

    But of course the main reason you don’t smoke at work is because ……… it’s illegal. Welding and cutting and grinding isn’t though – at least not yet.

    I’d better shut up or someone will get ideas.


    • Reminds me of a time two work colleagues were hauled over the coals for smoking in a no smoking zone.. while they engaged in electric arc welding.

      That was about 20 years ago. Same old, same old…


      • What, they were actually hauled over coals? Burning ones? Lol.

        Stupid though innit? But you might not have to let on. There’s only me at work and I own everything outright. It’s illegal if I smoke though – but not if I’m on fire! Least I don’t think so. Better not ask though eh? It’s illegal if I put the radio on too, because I’ve failed to pay for an ‘entertainment license’! An engineering shop needs an entertainment license to have the radio on, even for the cricket I suspect. That’s even if I lock the door and put a sign up saying ‘No public allowed’ (that’s probably racist or something too). You see, somebody might happen to be walking past outside and hear the cricket intro tune, let alone some regular music and then they would be ‘entertained’, if only for a microsecond and then I would have broken the law.

        What I want to be sure about is, if and when it all goes to rat-shit, we don’t forget all these jobsworths, busybodies and facilitators. They could be there in the crowd with us, howling at the politicians, but I won’t forget them. Everyone will be interrogated. What did you used to do in your former life – the other day? Worked for the Council? Wore a high-viz and carried a clipboard? Condemned!


        • My contract states I can be summarily dismissed for doing certain things – including punching a customer, disembowelling a co-worker, and ‘smoking in a non-designated area’. Not smoking in a ‘non-smoking area’ but in a non-designated area. As if all other places are automatically nonsmoking.

          I routinely flout that rule but so far have observed the other two, sometimes with difficulty.


  4. The comments are products of today’s untermensch. Give them the anonymity of a computer or darkness and their true nature becomes obvious. I was going to type “blindingly obvious” but it rather clashed with the darkness analogy; oh, well, please yourselves . . .


  5. Although she is still an arsehole, I think she meant that oxygen was piped into hospitals behind the beds for using with the masks.

    Pretty nasty stuff though pure oxygen. It can cause oil and grease to spontaneously ignite (so don’t put Vaseline on the threads of your bottle to make it easier to get on and off). Where my dad used to work, one of the large cylinders fell over and the neck cracked. This was an old style engineering factory with oil soaked in everywhere. It went off like a rocket apparently. Straight through the wall.


    • Aha. Okay. I have not been in hospital in many years and the only way I’d go in now is unconscious.

      The pressure in those cylinders means that if they fall over and break their necks, they go off like torpedoes.

      I remember seeing a smashed centrifuge – those spin at speeds that, if applied to a fairground ride, would leave all the seats smeared with paste. They have to be very carefuly balanced. Someone didn’t, and the centrifuge head came out through the steel lid and hovered like a UFO before making an expensive dent in the wall. I’m just pleased it wasn’t me.


  6. When HMS Sheffield, the one the Argies sank, was fitting out, dockside, a contractor ended his life by leaving the oxygen supply to his cutting torch turned on whist he went for a slash. In his return he opened the propane valve and tried to ignite the propane with his lighter or a sparker and bang. The compartment he was working in ceased to exist, a hole appeared in the ship that wasn’t there before and the unfortunate contractor met his maker in spectacular fashion.


    • Are you sure about those exact details in your story? Oxygen isn’t explosive, rather it supports combustion. The moral of the story is correct however and the (sensible) H & S principles always apply, that is, never leave oxygen equipment of this type in an enclosed environment, if ever you have to leave for any amount of time. All the same ‘going for a slash’ doesn’t suggest a huge amount of time, unlike going for a definite break, although it’s still not recommended. What would happen is the enclosed space in the vessel would become oxygen-enriched, very rapidly becoming clothing that would be oxygen-enriched. Upon lighting the torch (the propane gas) what would happen is that everything combustible would likely combust. Oxygen in itself however doesn’t burn. Clothing and human beings do. Having said that, maybe the propane cylinder exploded (and then the oxygen in the blast) and hence the explosion. Even then though, it’s not a definite that it would punch a hole in a few inches thickness of battleship plate. You need a shaped explosive charge to do that, even with deliberate intent. Maybe the story has got juicier with the telling.

      Maybe it’s true. Sorry, but it does sound a little dramatic. It’s not to say the poor chap didn’t burn to death in an intensely hot fireball.


      • Maybe it blew an internal wall? That would be a hole and in a ship under construction, would be a pain for those who’d just installed it.

        Especially since it’ll be covered with roast welder.


      • XX punch a hole in a few inches thickness of battleship plate.XX

        You are fucking JOKING right?

        We are talking modern war ships herte, NHOT the likes of the Hood and the Belfast, which actualy DID have armour plate.

        A modern war ship is so thin, you can see the frame beams through the outer skin!


        • Really? He did say HMS Sheffield which I know is ‘modern’ but not that modern. You can see the beams through the hull? So how thick (thin) are they? Morris Marina thin? Gosh they were thin alright, especially after a few outings in the rain. But surely they’re at least an inch thick? More even. There’s the factor of buckling in strong seas, not just enemy missiles. Still need some fair explosion to rupture inch plate. Mind you that’s not counting tobacco smoking near the outer skin – it probably melts plate steel or turns it into jelly or summat. Evil smoke, far worse than any enemy. The council told me so.


          • I was thinking of Broadsword, and my own Missile boats during my couple of years at sea with the German militay police. (Feldjäger do all services. Not as in the U.K where you have Navy and airforce police)

            You could see the pattern of the ribs through the plating. Admited, in the right light. (Early morning, late evening.)

            I guess the theory is that if anything gets through the radar and missile defences, even a bloody Iowa class would have problems with todays weapons.


  7. ‘My’ GP having taken early retirement (I suspect because he was totally pissed off with DOH) I’m now seeing another – and he exhibits autonomous cognitive skills! He was apologetic about the Exercise Questionnaire which he now has to go through (I think Computer won’t let him move on until Every Single Box is ticked) had a rant about HMG and acknowledged that my dangerously high bp was due to stress rather than the Nuffield Manual’s blueprint. The practice nurse had tipped me off which sock puppets to steer clear of. It gives me cause for hope – until they take early retirement. Heard on the radio that a headmaster was so horrified at the quality of candidates for a teaching job that he published that a significant percentage of those teaching in the state sector were only semi-literate. Have no reason to believe that young medics are scientifically literate.


    • I have a wonderful GP who is now working only 2 days a week and I expect will take early retirement soon. He says the box ticking culture is soul destroying and lecturing patients is not what he became a Dr. for. I dread him going though some of the others are ok it won’t be the same. There is a young Dr. who never looks up from his computer and when I said I still smoked didn’t want to know any more.


    • Medics, like every other profession know only what they are taught. It’s not their fault, it’s their teachers’ fault.

      If they were proper doctors (like me) they’d have been taught to think and question.

      These days I suspect they are actively taught not to.


  8. Yes, of course, oxygen does not burn – Oxygen Oxide anyone? But it is not advisable to add it to already burning things. But as you are referring to a Daily Mail article, yoy would not expect accuracy or scientific precision.
    I would assume the victim caused a fire by allowing oxygen to escape and accelerate the combustion of whatever was already alight. (I do this at work, but in a controlled way.)


  9. I had a GP that smoked and drank but retired 15 years ago. I’m not even sure who is my GP as I only go to the surgery when forced, last time when I broke my arm 3 years ago, time before that when I had an ear infection about 11 years ago.


    • I don’t think I have a GP now. I have ‘a surgery’ where if I ever go there, they’ll send me to whoever is available.

      Like a supermarket – go to the till that has the shortest queue.


  10. Dear Mr Leg-iron

    The report makes no mention of a bottle, but refers to ‘nearby medical equipment’ which suggests the source might be an oxygen concentrator, rather than a bottle. I’d guess that the ‘mask’ was actually a double tube which is held in the nostrils by a band which would leave the mouth free for eating, drinking or smoking. Anything burning coming into contact with an enriched oxgyen supply burns quicker and the ‘explosion’ would actually be a flash fire which would last seconds but could affect face, nostrils and possibly lungs and leave the lady in a serious condition.

    As for oxygen burning, that’s relative. Conventionally things burn in oxygen, because the oxygen is atmospheric. If you light an oxygen jet from a cylinder in a hydrogen or methane atmosphere,it would look* like the oxygen is burning, being hydrodised or part carbodised and part hydrodised by methane.

    * oxygen burns with a colourless flame in hydrogen.


    • Reminds me of the time in my old job when we had new labs. The idiots gave us pure-white plastic coated benches. Easy to keep clean but when you use a glass spreader in microbiology (not bothering with details as to why), you sterilise it by flaming it in ethanol. Dip it in the ethanol, show it to the flame and use it when it goes out.

      Occasionally, someone would put a still-burning spreader back in the jar of ethanol. Whoops.

      On the old wooden benches you’d see it burning and sort it. Just put foil over the jar to exclude air and it goes out. On the new pure-white ones you can’t see the ethanol flame.

      Nobody knows the whole jar is alight until they try to pick up the spreader.

      My lab has plastic benches – in brown wood-effect plastic. Best of both worlds. Lab makers don’t seem to have thought of this.


  11. Looking at that Daily Wail report (briefly, as the amount of stupid in it hurt my brain), it looks as though the lady in question managed to start a small oxygen fire. Portable Oxygen concentrators aren’t all that good at producing huge amounts of oxygen, so tend to have flow-on-demand elictrickery built in, so they only output gas when the user is inhaling.

    A cylinder by contrast puts out a steady stream of oxy all the time, and it sounds rather as though this lady was well used to smoking at the same time as using the supply. If she’d accidentally put the flow rate up higher and had more blankets around her than normal, then lighting a ciggie right by the oxygen source looks to have set off a small oxygen fire, which burned her mouth, face and upper respiratory tract. It also seems to have lit some home furnishings, very likely those made of man-made fibres; the constant flow of oxygen from the cylinder will also have kept the fire going better than it would otherwise have burned.

    All in all, it mostly seems to be down to user stupidity. Smoking doesn’t do you all that much good, but it doesn’t kill you all that fast either, unless you decide to explore the outer limits of bloody stupid and expose a naked flame to a stream of pure oxygen.

    Perhaps showing the youtube footage of what happens to a lit barbecue grill when you pour liquid oxygen onto it might help in educating users as to the folly of smoking whilst using the apparatus? Perhaps also our medical profession getting a clue and realising that a smoker is not going to magically give up when they’re feeling ill and need a bit of a boost might help? Supplying an electronic cigarette plus an adequate supply of nicotine liquid in various flavours to any smoker also supplied with oxygen supplements might well work wonders; you could even supply them with an e-ciggie that delivered not only nicotine but a bronchial dilator as well.

    Or is this being too sensible?


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