Volume 38, Issue 2 (March 1993)
Deaths Caused by Lightning
Though a rare cause of death, lightning is reported to be responsible for more fatalities each year in this country than any other type of natural disaster. Lightning injuries differ significantly from other high voltage electrical injuries because of the high current flow, but extremely short duration, of the lightning stroke. We present a series of cases over the period of 1985 to 1991 in Cook County, Illinois in which lightning was the direct cause of death. Our discussion reviews the nature of lightning, the effects it may have on humans, and the ways in which deaths due to lightning might be prevented.