Death From Lightning And Electricity
The signs of death from lightning vary greatly. In some cases there are
no signs; in others the body may be most curiously marked. Wounds of
various characters--contused, lacerated, and punctured--may be
produced. There may be burns, vesications, and ecchymoses; arborescent
markings are not uncommon. The hair may be singed or burnt and the
clothing damaged. Rigor mortis is very rapid in its onset and transient.
tem there are no characteristic signs, but the blood may be dark
in colour and fluid. The presence or absence of a storm may assist the
Injuries by electrical currents of high pressure are not uncommon;
speaking generally, 1,000 to 2,000 volts will kill. In America, where
electricity is adopted as the official means of destroying criminals,
1,500 volts is regarded as the lethal dose, but there are many instances
of persons having been exposed to higher voltages without bad effects.
The alternating current is supposed to be more fatal than the
continuous. Much depends on whether the contact is good (perspiring
hands or damp clothes). Death has been attributed in these cases to
respiratory arrest or sudden cessation of the heart's action. The best
treatment is artificial respiration, but the inhalation of nitrite of
amyl may prove useful. Rescuers must be careful that they, also, do not
receive a shock. The patient should be handled with india-rubber gloves
or through a blanket thrown over him.