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Open Access Case report

A case of a speech impediment following a near lightning strike

Bobby K Desai* and Rita Fairclough

Author Affiliations

University of Florida College of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine PO Box 100186 Gainesville, FL 32610, USA

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International Journal of Emergency Medicine 2011, 4:60  doi:10.1186/1865-1380-4-60

Published: 19 September 2011

Abstract

Environmental electrical injuries (electrical burns and lightning) are relatively common and are estimated to result in more than 3,000 admissions to specialized burn units each year here in the US. Lightning injuries are a small subset of electrical injuries and are responsible for an average of 300 injuries and 100 deaths per year in the US. We present a case of a rare injury obtained as a result of a near lightning strike. The case involved a young female who was playing soccer when lightning struck within several feet of where she was standing, resulting in loss of consciousness, paresthesias, tinnitus, muscle spasms and most importantly a new onset of a speech impediment. There is only one reported case of a speech impediment secondary to an electrical injury in the literature.