Electrical burn injury
Electricity always takes the path of least resistance, and is always looking for a “path to ground.” That is, when electricity escapes, it is always looking for some way to strike the ground. The ground is an attractive place for electricity to flow because it is positively charged. If a person gets in that path, the electricity will pass through the person, severely injuring or killing them.
Electrical burns occur when an electrical current “jumps” or is discharged from a wire, cord, outlet, or appliance to pass through a human body. The electricity can burn the skin and can cause massive internal damage, including cardiac arrest. The internal injuries caused by an electrical burn may not be visible to the eye, in that the visible electrical burns may simply be entry and exit points of the electrical current. The entry point is the part of the body that first touched the electrical current. Often, that’s a hand.
What Causes Electrical Burns?
High voltage wires, overhead power lines, electrical outlets, cords, or appliances. Lineman working on powerlines can be electrocuted if they have inadvertent contact with the energized phase. Many injuries result from dropping a plugged-in appliance into the water, a child putting an electrical cord into their mouth, or a person sticking something into an outlet such as a pin or their fingers. Downed utility poles may also be to blame; generally, when a utility pole falls to the ground, the powerlines will not be de-energized.