The Current

ER doctor Brian Goldman shares prognosis for Home Alone's booby trap injuries

It's been more than a quarter of a century since movie Home Alone came out. Emergency room doctor Brian Goldman says the painful antics in the Christmas-time classic mirror a real-life spike in accidents during this most wonderful time of the year.
ER doctor Brian Goldman says the spirit of the Home Alone movie is somewhat accurate because there is usually a spike in accident-related injuries over the holidays. (20th Century Fox/Home Alone Official Facebook Page)

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Twenty-six years ago, the movie Home Alone became an instant holiday classic. Four sequels later, families are still watching the flick.

But as most people guffaw at the antics of eight-year-old Kevin McCallister, played by Macaulay Cuklin, targeting a pair of buffoonish burglars with ruthless booby traps, emergency room doctor Brian Goldman, who's also the host of CBC's White Coat Black Art, can't help but consider what kind of damage those booby traps could do in real life. 
Macaulay Culkin portrays Kevin McCallister in Home Alone defending the house from intruders. (20th Century Fox)

"I have certainly seen many people who have unintentionally done things at home and who've ended up in the emergency department requiring treatment, especially over the holiday season," he tells The Current's guest host Piya Chattopadhyay. 

In the Home Alone scene where Kevin rigs a blow torch to fire when the door opens and burglar Harry, played by Joe Pesci, sets his head on fire burning off his hat and hair, Dr. Goldman shares his prognosis for the injuries sustained. 

"You could have anything up to and including third degree burns," he tells Chattopadhyay. "I would expect that … much of it would be to your face, so you could have eye damage. You'd certainly lose a lot of your hair and hopefully it wouldn't burn down the scalp so that it would be irreparable harm."

In another scene, Kevin sets paint cans to come slamming down into the burglars faces when they try to chase him up a flight of stairs.

Dr. Goldman's diagnosis on this injury is possible concussion, penetrating head injuries and skull fractures.

"We use to treat these [injuries] as a bonk in the head, you know you had your bell rung. Now it's all serious stuff."

Another iconic scene from a different movie has inspired ER visits, according to Dr. Goldman — Tom Cruise's lateral slide in Risky Business.

"It's amazing how many people come to the emergency department who tried that, particularly when intoxicated, and either got foreign body slivers in their feet or they slipped and strained their groin or they fell and hit their head."

Listen to more real life scenarios that prompted a visit to the ER.

This segment was produced by The Current's Marc Apollonio.