Death & Injury By Selfie: Are The "Likes" Worth The Risk?

When you work in diagnostic imaging, you see and hear a lot of strange things. People come in with all sorts of injuries, and with each injury comes the story about how they got it. In the past couple of years, we’ve started to notice an interesting trend. We’ve seen an increased number of patients who come in needing an x-ray, an MRI, or a CT scan for an injury. In itself, that isn’t particularly strange. What’s strange is that many of these injuries were the result of a pretty weird cause: selfies.

We all know selfies have become increasingly popular, with the competition to see who can get more “likes” pressuring people to push the limits when it comes to dangerous poses or shocking locations. With the invention of the selfie stick, it’s become even easier for people to take breathtaking selfies while simultaneously putting their life and personal safety on the line.

If you’ve been on social media in the past week, then you’ve probably seen the article declaring that in 2015, there have been more deaths from selfies than there have been by sharks. The statistic is sad, but unfortunately it’s true. Here’s a list of every selfie-gone-wrong that’s happened in 2015.

January 2015

A 21-year-old South African woman died after falling from Northcliff Hill, Johannesburg as a male companion was setting up a tripod for a selfie. 

Two young men died in the Ural mountains as they pulled the pin from a hand grenade to take a selfie, which remained as evidence of the circumstances of their deaths.

Three Indian students aged 20 to 22 died trying to take a "daredevil selfie" close to an oncoming train.

May 2015

An 18-year-old Romanian teenager died when she attempted to take the "ultimate selfie", posing with a friend on top of a train in the north-eastern Romanian city of Iași when her leg touched a live wire above, sending an electrical surge of up to 27,000 volts through her body. A 17-year-old friend who accompanied her was hospitalized.

A teenager climbed on a railway bridge in the Ryazan region in Russia to take a selfie and died when he came in contact with live wires.

A 21-year-old man from YogyakartaIndonesia fell into the crater of Mount Merapi and died while attempting to take a selfie.

A Singaporean tourist died after falling into the sea while taking a selfie on a cliff in Nusa Lembongan, an island off the coast of BaliIndonesia.

July 2015

A 21-year-old Russian university graduate died after falling from a bridge while she was trying to take a memorable selfie next to Moscow Cityfinancial district.

A man died in the annual bull running festival in the town of Villaseca de la Sagra trying to take selfie with the animals.

September 2015

A 19-year-old from Houston, Texas died after trying to take an Instagram selfie while holding a loaded gun to his head. He accidentally fired the gun and shot himself in the throat.

A Japanese tourist fell down a staircase to his death while taking a selfie at the Taj Mahal.

As need for “shock factor” rises, more people are putting their safety on the line to try to get the “perfect” selfie. In our opinion, though, the “perfect” selfie involves being alive long after the meaningless photo is snapped. Don’t put your life on the line for a picture; don’t risk your personal safety or the safety of others just to get some “likes” on social media. These injuries are increasing the revenue of the medical community, but it’s an increase we’re not happy to see.