This report deals with an unusual injury in a patient whose death represents the sole fatality from Fourth of July fireworks accidents in Philadelphia's vital statistics for 1931.1
T. M., a robust white man, aged 42, was carried to the receiving ward at about 10:45 p. m., July 4, 1931, by some friends, who gave the following account of the accident: The patient, while intoxicated, accepted a wager from one of his drunken friends to place a torpedo in his mouth and to chew down on it.2 This he did, first placing the object well back in his mouth between the left molars "to get a good bite," whereupon he was severely injured by the explosion and was brought immediately to the hospital.
Superficial examination showed the man to be conscious, but critically injured and in profound shock. He had the smell of "liquor" about him. Consequently, his
Klopp JW. FOURTH OF JULY ACCIDENT: EXTENSIVE FATAL INJURIES FROM EXPLOSION, WITHIN THE MOUTH, OF A GIANT TORPEDO. JAMA. 1932;99(17):1416. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.27410690001009