Mobile phone injury – man survives high voltage shock and undergone 8 surgeries

Ravi (name changed), a 23-years-old MBA graduate, shifted to his new residence in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. It was late evening when he received a phone call on his mobile. While talking on mobile, he walked to the rooftop and stood near the parapet. It was dark outside and little did he know that there were high-tension wires passing near the roof carrying 11,000 volts of current.

Suddenly, the magnetic field surrounding the mobile got mixed with the electrical field of the high-tension wires. In a fraction of second, 11,000 volts of high voltage current entered Ravi’s body through the mobile into his ears and exited into the earth through the groin area, as his groin was touching the parapet. The mobile got blasted near his ears and resulted in severe third degree electrical burns involving right side of the face, groin and thigh area — the areas which were in contact with the mobile and the earth.

Ravi became unconscious for 45 minutes, after which he got up on his own. He was unable to remember the events. The patient was initially managed in Gwalior and was later referred to the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here on August 3, 2013.

Dr Swaroop Singh Gambhir, Associate Consultant, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said, “This is the first time in my career that I saw such severe electrical burns due to mobile. When we first saw the patient, he had severe third degree burns on the right side of the face, groin and penile area. The burns were so extensive on the face that the facial bone was burnt. There was severe burn injury to the right eye. In addition to this, he had suffered extensive burns near the groin and thigh. The challenge to us was to salvage whatever tissues were remaining, prevent the infection and reconstruct the damaged structures to as normal as possible. This required multiple surgeries and regular follow up.”

“In last eight months Ravi has undergone ten surgeries. With these surgeries, we have managed to cover the facial bones and give him near normal skin. Along with this, his groin, thighs and penile area have also been reconstructed,” said Dr Gambhir.

The patient is presently admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital for his eleventh surgery, which is for reconstruction of eyelid and implant of eyeball. Further, he will require surgeries for eyebrows, eyelashes and beard reconstruction. In about next six months, the patient should be near to normal, according to a statement issued by the hospital on Friday.

“Accidental contact with high voltage electricity may result in severe injury or death. This can occur as a person’s body provides a path for current flow, causing tissue damage and heart failure. Other injuries can include burns from the arc generated by the accidental contact. These burns can be especially dangerous if the victim’s airways are affected. Injuries may also be suffered as a result of the physical forces experienced by people who fall from a great height or are thrown a considerable distance,” added Dr Gambhir.

Source: India Medical Times