Lightning Skin Burns: A Case Report

Tarek Abdelraouf, Mohamed ElHafez, Ekramy Elmorsy


Lightning strike is a rare natural phenomenon which can cause death due to serious medical complications including myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, cutaneous burns, and respiratory as well as neurological disorders. This study presents a report on a 50-year-old male who died after being struck by lightning. The man sustained burns from the neck to the ankle. Interestingly, fern-like skin erythema was seen in the anterior aspects of the right and left shoulders and left side of the lower part of the anterior abdominal wall. Multiple 2nd degree burns were found. The largest was found in the middle of the front of the neck extending to the upper part of the chest with linear extension to the front of the abdomen. Other burns were found in the abdominal wall, pubic region, and medial aspects of both thighs. Areas of erythema were found in the back of the left thigh and legs to the medial aspects of the ankles. Hair singing was found in the beard, back of both forearms and in the pubic region. Clothes were burnt and torn opposite to the skin lesions. The cause of death was most likely cardiorespiratory arrest. In conclusion, more awareness about lightning is highly recommended as it remains as a serious cause of environmental deaths with unique skin burns.


Forensic Sciences, Lightning, Skin Burns, Fern-Like Skin Erythema, Electrocution

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