What Killed Superman?

 Was it a bird?  Was it a plane?  Kryptonite?

We asked dozens of people on the streets of our local city Derry~Londonderry ... here's what they thought.

Most people thought superman would have met his demise at the hands of a rogue superhero, a nuclear accident or some other dramatic event. 

In reality, It was something much more shocking which ultimately took his life.  

A pressure injury.

When a person suffers an injury or disability which leaves them immobile, they are at high risk of developing a pressure injury, also know as a pressure ulcer or bed sore.  

In many cases, these avoidable wounds can prove fatal. 

As a clinician, I have seen this happen time and time again, but the cause of death is rarely if ever listed as 'pressure injury.'

In the case of Christopher Reeve - he suffered from mutliple pressure injuries which became infected.  Prior to his death in October 2004, he was being treated for an infected pressure injury which caused sepsis.  Sepsis is blood poisioning which is a life threatening condition.  Christopher Reeve is reported to have taken a reaction to an antibiotic used to treat the infected ulcer, which led to cardiac arrest, and ultimatley caused his death.

Starting the Conversation 

The purpose of this blog and video is to highlight the fact that although Christopher Reeve's spinal cord injury was well known, very few people knew about his pressure injury. 

We need to bring pressure injuries into mainstream conversation. 

The causes of pressure injuries are complex and we know that there could have been several factors at play in the creation of Christopher Reeve's pressure injury but we also know that pressure injuries are often overlooked and prevention strategies are not always followed. 

These painful, dangerous and shockingly preventable injuries simply should not be happening in today's society.

The Answer Is Already Here 

We have know for many years that 95% of pressure injuries are preventable. They cost billions worldwide to treat and so represent a huge problem to patients and facilities.

Yet we already know how to prevent them. 

We have the evidence to prove it. 

Together with researchers from Ulster University, I spent two years researching seating and pressure injuries and discovered a significant reduction in pressure injuries as a result of using our chairs.  

The message here is huge.  

Premature death can be avoided by the use of proper seating.  

Perhaps even Superman's death could have been prevented by the use of a Seating Matters chair. 

Help me to share this message and avoid more preventable deaths. 




For more detailed information on the causes and treatments for pressure injuries, request a free copy of The Clinician's Seating Handbook HERE.

 Free Copy of The Clinician's Seating Handbook by Martina Tierney OT




 1. Modern Medicine (2007)  Taking the Pressure out of Pressure UIcer Therapy [Online] Available from: http://www.modernmedicine.com/modern-medicine/content/taking-pressure-out-pressure-ulcer-therapy  [Accessed 12th September 2016)

2. USA Today (2004) Spinal cord injury patients often succumb to bed sores [Online] Available from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2004-10-24-spinal-usat_x.htm [Accessed 12th September 2016]

3. Daily Mail. (2015)  Christopher Reeve's look-alike 22-year-old son joins ESPN's SportsCenter team as it attempts to appeal to more millennials.  [Online] Available from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2928938/Christopher-Reeve-s-look-alike-22-year-old-son-joins-ESPN-s-SportsCenter-team-attempts-appeal-millennials.html#ixzz4K2FUYRI0  [Accessed 12th September 2016]

 4. Science Daily (2006).  Even Superman couldn't win battle with pressure ulcers.  [Online] Available from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060822172344.htm [Accessed 12th September 2016]

5. Christopher Reeve. (2016, September 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:10, September 12, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Christopher_Reeve&oldid=738808394 





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