WHEN did the "hospital selfie" become a thing? I'm not sure who was patient zero (Piers Morgan with his recent tummy troubles, perhaps?) but like a stookied leg in a hammy comedy it is gaining traction.

Over the past week radio presenter Nicky Campbell (kidney stones), actor Kate Beckinsale (ovarian cyst) and tennis star Sir Andy Murray (hip surgery) have all shared medical-related images on social media.

Is this progress from a fortnight ago when everyone was wearing blindfolds and worshipping an egg, I hear you cry? Umm …

Anyway, if you missed the memo let me bring you up to speed. There is a strict formula – almost bordering on an art form – to nailing the hospital selfie. Firstly, it requires a diamond-patterned gown worn while lying recumbent against regulation white sheets.

You must stare unblinkingly into the camera lens. If done correctly the effect should be eerily reminiscent of glassy-eyed Victorian taxidermy yet also convey the next level pathos as pioneered in the 1990 music video of Sinead O'Connor singing Nothing Compares 2 U.

Bonus points if you can get a nasal cannula, an IV drip or cardiac monitor into the shot. Throw in a lopsided and weary thumbs-up? Jackpot.

Not everyone is a fan. A quick straw poll reveals the hospital selfie is a polarising notion that can either tug the heartstrings – or make you want to scream into an NHS issue pillow.

Still, I reckon it can be a great leveller. Not to mention informative. On one memorable whistle-stop visit to the acute assessment unit (ovarian cyst – snap, Kate Beckinsale) I received gripping insight into the peculiarities of human interactions with camera phones.

All of life was here. Including two young women in the adjoining cubicle who proceeded to spend the best part of 45 minutes attempting to capture the perfect selfie.

They pouted, they frowned, they stuck their tongues out: in short, every facial muscle was pressed into action. The reason I know this is because one of them had thrown open the dividing curtain bemoaning that it, coupled with the ward's harsh strip lighting, was casting unflattering shadows.

Their matching camouflage print tracksuits – what one might describe as leisurewear – were befitting to an episode of M*A*S*H. Except, rather than khaki, they sported hot pink and tangerine orange – ideal if attempting to move stealthily among a flock of flamingos or a giant vat of Wotsits.

I was gifted with a front row pew to this anthropological spectacular. I gawped slack-jawed as they flagged down a passing porter and cajoled him into taking a snap. He was still muttering and shaking his head incredulously when I saw him three hours later.

One of the women had arrived with severe stomach pains. As her discomfort intensified, all thoughts of selfies were hastily abandoned as the friend went running for a nurse.

There was a bit of a commotion, the curtain whipped shut again and I could hear the hallmark sounds of an examination taking place, punctuated by severe winces of pain as pressure was applied to a tender abdomen.

Without warning, there was a loud trumpeting like angry elephant being unleashed. Silence. Then an ungodly stench wafted through the cubicle that almost made my eyes water.

It turned out the woman had bad wind, but all the poking and prodding had helped release it. Dispatched on their way soon afterwards, the last I saw of the intrepid duo they were calling a taxi to take them to McDonald's and then ten pin bowling.

The selfie seekers I can live with. My pet peeve is those who "check in" at hospital on Facebook accompanied by a vague or cryptic post like a cliffhanger in a shoddy B movie.

The chief motivation is to prompt a flurry of concerned "You OK, hon?" posts. When in fact they are dropping their Auntie Senga off at the podiatrist to get her wonky ingrown toenail fixed.

The multi-layered wonders of Winterwatch

ONE of my favourite things this past week was seeing the photograph of a colleague's cat sitting in front of the television glued to Winterwatch. Maybe the mesmerised moggy, like me, was pondering just exactly how many layers Chris Packham had on.

It was difficult to tell. The BBC Two wildlife show had set up shop in the Cairngorms National Park where the sub-zero temperatures of recent nights were clearly getting to Packham and his fellow presenters.

They all looked pretty wrapped up against the chill, but Packham had the appearance of a man who had donned the entire contents of his suitcase in a bid to avoid paying excess baggage charges on the flight up from London.

He resembled the Michelin Man in a puffy, latter era Elvis Presley phase, lumbering about the set and visibly struggling to bend his arms due to the sheer volume of clothing he was wearing.

It could have been a cunning ploy to distract from the slim pickings of the opening night where highlights included footage of a pine marten getting ever-so-slightly startled by a badger and the rumoured sighting of a mouse scampering around a bothy. In which case the wool was pulled firmly over my eyes.

Tattoo much?

SPARE a thought for Ariana Grande who tattooed an accidental homage to a barbecue on her hand after the pop singer's nod to her latest hit single, 7 Rings, went awry. Unfortunately for Ari, the Japanese characters used translated as "shichirin", meaning a small charcoal grill.

While misspelled Japanese-style tattoos invoke a nostalgic throwback to peak late 1990s/early 2000s hipster trends, they are far from the worst misadventures in body art. Classics in that vein include poignant halo-clad tributes to "angles" and the powerful statement that "nolege is power".

Grande – who later added some extra missing characters in a bid to correct the typo – seemed unperturbed by her error. Or as some tattoo fans might say: no regerts.