The odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in a million. And the odds of surviving one of these major bolts of electricity are surprisingly good. Only about one in 10 people who are struck by lightning are killed. But those who survive often experience immediate and lasting side-effects that can be as bizarre as they are unpleasant.
“Lightning can cause injuries to every single organ system and neurological system in the body,” Dr. George Rossie, a neuropsychologist, tells Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan of Denver’s 5280 magazine.
Symptoms include everything from forgetfulness and irritability to personalty changes or depression, which may be related to actual nerve damage or a psychological effect.
Kwak-Hefferan describes the experience of three lightning strike survivors in her article.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Phil Broscovak, of Wyoming, was electrocuted by a bolt of lightning during a climbing trip. He described the pain as “being stung by 10,000 wasps from the inside out.” Broscovak suffered damage to his nervous system. He experienced severe mood swings and insomnia. Some days he could not speak or write basic words.
- Brock Nevill was hiking through the woods when a lightning bolt struck a tree he had been leaning up against, and stopped his heart. The 15-year-old was bed-ridden for three months and doesn’t remember anything after his rescue. Now 21, he’s mostly recovered, but has been allergic to metal since the strike.
- Betsy Smith lost consciousness when she was hit by lightning on a rock ledge in Wyoming. “I was convinced my body had become soup inside my clothes,” she told the magazine. Smith was out for 45 minutes and her left arm was severely burned. One of her fingers had to be amputated too.
Read the full article at 5280 >