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Wilderness Medical Society - snowmass 2005
O'brien CF: Involuntary movement disorders following lightning and electrical injuries. Sem in Neuro
Ogren FP, Edmunds AL: Neuor-otologic findings in the lightning injured patient. Sem in Neuro 1995
Ohashi M, et al. Lightning injury as a blast injury of skull, brain and visceral lesions: clinical and
experimental evidences. Keio J of Med. 50(4):257-62, 2001 Dec.
Patten BM: Lightning and electrical injuries. Neuro Clin 1992 10:1047-58.
Primeau M: Behavioral consequences of lightning and electrical injury. Sem in Neuro 1995 15:279-85.
Sharp D. Lightning strikes. Lancet. 360. Aug 3, 2002.
Ten Duis HJ. Lightning strikes: danger overhead. British J of Sports Med. 1998; 32(4): 276-8.
Van Zomeren AH, ten Duis HJ, Minderhoud JM. Lightning stroke and neuropsychological
impairment: cases and questions. J of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. 1998; 64(6): 763-9.
Vianello F. A man in the thunderstorm: coronary injuries and electric shock. Cardiology 1997; 88(5):
Whitcomb D. Lightning Injuries. Southern Medical Journal. 95(11);1331-34. Nov 2002.
Yarnell PR,Lammertse DP: Neurorehabilitation of lightning and electrical injuries. Sem in Neuro 1995
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Yi C. Lightning-induced cataract and neuroretinopathy. Retina. 21(5):526-8, 2001.
Zack F, Hammer U, Klett I. Myocardial injury due to lightning. Int J of Legal Med. 1997; 110(6): 326-
Zimmerman C, Cooper MA, Holle RL. Lightning safety guidelines. Ann Emerg Med. June 2002; 39:
A Bolt from the Blue
At approximately 11AM MDT on Sunday, Sept 18
, 1994, a 51 year old male
mountain bikers was watching a rugby match near Vail, CO. He was struck by lightning
to the side of his head, on a day with "blue sky" and no apparent storms in the vicinity.
Subsequent analysis using GEOS imagery and data from the National Lightning
Detection Network, it was determined that he was struck by a single bolt emitted from a
storm 16km or 10 miles away.
Neurology 1997; 48:683-686.
Lightning can strike in any season and during any part of the day or night. In 2003, there were
Here are a few examples of reported lightning casualties in the U.S. during 2003:
In Utah, a mother and father were killed and their 3 children injured after being hit by lightning near
Crystal Lake in the Uintah Mountains. The family had taken shelter from the thunderstorm under a
tree when the lightning struck the tree.
In Wisconsin, lightning struck a man holding a tent metal pole, resulting in serious injuries. The bolt
injured 7 nearby people who were standing in ankle deep water. Six of the eight people were
In Florida, a father and son were fishing from a pier when lightning struck a tall pine tree 20 feet
away. The lightning ran down the tree, up the pier where the men were fishing and struck both of
them. The 42 year-old son died at the scene. His 69 year-old father was taken to the hospital and
released a few days later.
In California, a construction worker standing on a catwalk was struck by lightning and fell 30 feet to
the ground. He went into cardiac arrest and died later that day.

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