Never Kiss a Jellyfish

Although I ‘love’ jellyfish from the point of view of a clinician, I try to avoid getting too ‘up close and personal’ with them. Unfortunately upon diving into the Indian Ocean last weekend – a maneuver described as ‘ungainly’ by one witness – I plunged face first into a jellyfish:

1-week post-jellyfish sting and 2.5 weeks post-commencement of dodgy facial hair growth… Note the two fang-like linear markings on the chin.

Thankfully, there was sympathy from some quarters (@goldenskye):


And when it comes to first aid, there are advantages to being a doctor – doctors know that clinical guidelines are just a guide, they can be deviated from (when clinically indicated):


Furthermore, despite a large number of volunteers willing to supply the supposedly therapeutic substance, I knew that urine is not effective first aid for jellyfish stings. I also knew that one of the best ways to start feeling better is to find someone else who is worse off than yourself (@georgejelinek):


Unfortunately, I discovered that not everyone is blessed with the empathy gene – such people are probably best shipped out to the Gibson Desert.

If it wasn’t for Twitter, we’d never have to hear from them

And before anyone asks, the sting was not an intentional act designed to activate my sodium channels…

To paraphrase Mae West: “Are your sodium channels open, or are you just glad to see me?”

Leon Gussow (see comments on ‘Mad Honey Sex‘ at The Poison Review)

It should also be noted that in addition to kissing jellyfish being a ‘bad’ idea, the Life in the Fast Lane team no longer recommend the use of BlueBottle Jellyfish as nipple tassels. As highlighted in this post – the combination of nipple tassels, Blue Bottles and inappropriate facial hair can be potentially lethal…


Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.

After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.

He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE.  He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.

His one great achievement is being the father of three amazing children.

On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.

| INTENSIVE | RAGE | Resuscitology | SMACC

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