Bamboo scaffolding and ladder (with handrail)


Bamboo is the basic building material in rural Bangladesh. It comes in all sizes, thick and slender, short and long. Flatbed trucks have bamboo layered horizontally five metres high, with stouter stems fixed vertically at the edges to keep the load from sliding off.


There are stockpiles at the side of the road. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered tuk-tuks transport smaller quantities to building sites. Men carry bamboo on their heads into the more remote parts of the camp.


Others squat on their haunches to split thinner staves into thin strips, then plaiting them into fences, walls or screening panels.


It is ubiquitous. Perhaps that is why it causes so many medical problems. People fall onto sharpened bamboo staves, causing serious lacerations and penetrating eye injuries. Even worse, a bamboo pole fell from a truck and pierced the windpipe of a pedestrian, exiting through the top of his lung. Incredibly, this person survived thanks to prompt action at our hospital and transfer to Memorial Christian Hospital by ambulance.




By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.

3 replies on “Bamboo”

I never thought of bamboo being dangerous, let alone lethal, except when deliberately sharpened and stuck in the ground. I mean, I grew up during the Vietnam War, so I know it CAN be lethal, but I never thought about accidental injuries. It’s a grass, isn’t it? Do people ever harvest their own, or in the wild, do you know?


Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!


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