Lightning-Associated Deaths

A lightning strike can cause death or numerous injuries to at least one or many persons. The mechanism of injury is unique, and the manifestations differ from those of other electrical injuries. In the United States, lightning causes additional deaths than do most different natural hazards (e.g., hurricanes and tornadoes) (1), though the incidence of lightning-connected deaths has decreased since the Nineteen Fifties (one,two). The cases described in this report illustrate various circumstances in that deaths because of lightning will occur. This report conjointly summarizes data from the Compressed Mortality File of CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics on lightning fatalities within the United States from 1980 through 1995, when 1318 deaths were attributed to lightning. Case Reports Case 1. In April 1997, a thirty four-year-old lady in Florida was struck by lightning at approximately 12:thirty p.m. when a severe thunderstorm had seasoned the world. She had gone into her back yard to tend animals during a pen. As she walked toward the pen gate, lightning stuck her, throwing her several feet. A neighbor immediately administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) however could not revive her and known as the emergency medical service (EMS). EMS personnel were unable to resuscitate her, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. She had metal screws in her breast pocket and a cordless hand drill in her hand. The clothing of her higher torso was torn. Autopsy findings included arborization — erythematous marks during a branching pattern characteristic of lightning injury — on her left anterior torso but no other visible pathology connected to the lightning strike. Case two. In July 1997, a 47-year-old man in Florida was struck by lightning while golfing at a driving range at approximately 5:30 p.m. The skies reportedly were clear but a storm might have been forming in the realm. EMS personnel found out 5:40 p.m. and located him while not a pulse or spontaneous respirations. He was intubated at the scene, but resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. He was transported to an emergency department, where his pulse rate and blood pressure were obtained. However, his pupils were fixed and dilated, and he was unresponsive to stimuli. A computerized tomogram (CT) of his head showed cerebral edema however no hemorrhage. Bloody drainage was noted from his nose and right ear. He gradually became hypotensive, and his blood pressure failed to increase with intravenous fluid. He was pronounced dead at 1:25 p.m. the following day. Autopsy indicated burns on his left hand and a second-degree burn with vesicle formation on his right back. His heart had epicardial petechiae on the anterior and posterior surfaces. His brain was edematous and had hypoxic injury to the neurons. Case 3. In September 1996, a 14-year-recent boy in Washington was struck by lightning whereas riding his bike throughout a thunderstorm. A bolt of lightning struck a tree close to the motorcyclist, traveled along the trunk of the tree, then jumped from the tree to the motorcycle and the rider’s feet and groin. Persons who saw the incident found him apneic and immediately began CPR. He was transported to the nearest hospital and was in cardiac arrest on arrival. Although he was successfully resuscitated and admitted to a hospital, he died five days later. Autopsy findings included a soft swollen brain with axial herniation and hypoxic injury to the neurons. The right aspect of his chest had singed hair, a healing burn injury, and damage to the underlying pectoralis muscles. His heart had multiple microscopic foci of myocardial necrosis, and his kidney had pink tubular casts per myoglobinuria. Summary, 1980-1995

Death attributed to lightning was defined as any recorded death for which the underlying reason behind death, or a minimum of one reason for death, was coded E907 (lightning, excluding injury from fall of a tree or object caused by lightning) in keeping with the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision. The 1940 census was used for age-adjusted rates.

Within the United States from 1980 through 1995, a complete of 1318 deaths were attributed to lightning, (average: 82 deaths per year range: 53-100 deaths). Of the 1318 persons who died, 1125 (85p.c) were male, and 896 (68p.c) were aged fifteen-forty four years. The annual death rate from lightning was highest among persons aged 15-nineteen years (half-dozen deaths per ten,00zero,000 population; crude rate: three per ten,00zero,00zero). The greatest number of deaths because of lightning occurred in Florida and Texas (one hundred forty five and ninety one, respectively), however New Mexico, Arizona, Arkansas, and Mississippi had the very best rates (ten.zero, nine.zero, 9.0, and nine.zero, respectively).