10 Wild Laser Stories

1A woman who was burned by a fart during laser surgery

A Japanese woman was badly burned when she passed gas while having laser surgery.

Doctors at Tokyo Medical University Hospital were operating a 30-year-old patient's cervix when she released the fart. It started a fire that caught onto the surgical drape, then quickly spread to the woman's waist and lower body. A committee investigated the incident and concluded that none of the equipment malfunctioned, or was used improperly. Apparently, it all just very bad luck.

2The man who shined a laser pointer at a helicopter

Pointing lasers at flying machines are taken very seriously, as Connor Brown, 30, found out when he was charged with reckless endangerment, obstructing, hindering, and shining a laser pointer at an aircraft.

The police helicopter was were searching for a man who had defaced a park structure when Brown flashed the laser into the cockpit. Two of the crew were injured, and the mission was aborted so they could be taken to the hospital for treatment. An investigation led the authorities to Brown.

Brown said that what he did was wrong and no reasoning can explain what he called a "horrible, horrible mistake."

3Five people who were blinded a laser the same day

At the Cataract and Laser Center West, in West Springfield, Massachusetts, five patients suffered severe eye injuries when injected with anesthesia before laser eye surgery.

On his first day on the job, Dr. Tzay Chiu managed to damage the sight of the unfortunate victims. The laser center claimed that the man either lied about his skill level or didn't have proper knowledge of the equipment. Chiu has since resigned and has been barred from practicing medicine in the U.S.

4The man whose fingers were burned during laser tattoo removal

An Australian man who wanted to have some tattoos removed from his knuckles, ended up with severe burns.

Told he would need ten to twelve $170 sessions of laser surgery to erase "Live Free" from his fingers, the anonymous man began asking questions after nearly 20 sessions hadn't produced the desired results. The clinician attempted to make things proceed a bit quicker, "so she turned the laser machine right up, as high as it goes, and she said 'This is the highest setting it can go to,' and she cooked my hand.” The resulting wounds left 3mm holes in each of the victim's fingers.

5The woman who was run off the road by a driver brandishing a laser

An Albany, Oregon woman was driving her husband to work when another driver flashed a laser at her eyes. 

Miranda Senters was temporarily blinded during the attack. “He was in front of me, and he tried to shine it in my eyes. I just kept going back and forth a little bit, trying to keep out of the light," she said. When Senters turned to avoid the light, it caused a spin out, and the attacker's car then plowed into hers. A third car swerved into a barrier while trying to avoid the crashed cars. The assailant fled the scene in his blue Honda, leaving the others among the wreckage.

6The store bought lasers that are considered a health risk in the UK

After an increase in laser pointer incidents, mainly involving planes and helicopters, the UK has decided to crack down on the devices.

In most countries, lasers under five milliwatts are considered safe. However, some high powered, class 3 lasers have reportedly been sold online. There have been more than 150 eye injuries from the pointers, and most involve children. "Used irresponsibly, or maliciously, these products can and do, wreak havoc and harm others, with potentially catastrophic consequences" claims Business Minister Margot James.

7The U.S. Army helicopters that fight drones with laser guns

In June 2017, the U.S. Army successfully tested laser guns mounted on Apache helicopters. This was the "first time that a fully integrated laser system successfully engaged and fired at a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a broad range of flight regimes, altitudes, and air speeds," Raytheon, the manufacturer, said. The weapons have a range of about 0.9 miles and are silent, and invisible to humans. They are also extremely accurate. The army hopes to use them to defend against any future drone attacks. 

8The NFL player who was harassed by a laser-pointing fan

In 2016, during a rare international NFL game in Mexico City between the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders, struggling Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler was harassed by what one must assume was an unruly Raider fan. Throughout the contest, the spectator would sporadically shine a green laser pointer into Osweiler's face as the QB tried to perform. He played well enough but was disappointed that security never put an end to the distraction. After the game, Brock noted, "I never want to say that one thing is a difference-maker, but certainly, having a laser zoomed in on your eyeball definitely affects how you play a game."

9The self-driving that cars were hacked by cheap laser pens

Despite millions of dollars spent on the development of driverless vehicles, one security researcher was able to raise serious questions about their viability for the near-future. A scientist was able to interfere with a driverless car's laser sensors by shining a cheap, off-the shelf laser pen at them. Its self-driving system could either be fooled into "seeing" a phantom obstacle and slowing down or would come to a complete stop when overwhelmed by erratic signals—and its back to the drawing board!

10The laser liposuction that left a patient hideously scarred

A woman was badly burned during a laser liposuction procedure, and officials then tried to discourage her from getting treatment from a hospital for her wounds. Dr. Muruga Raj instead told her she wasn't burned gave her some skin cream instead! He was later found liable in a malpractice suit. "He knew she was in agony and that her skin was dying, layer by layer by layer — yet he chose to lie and cover it up,” said her attorney, Andrew Laskin. “That is what a fraudster does, not a medical doctor.”