Volume 42, Issue 1 (January 1997)
An Electrocution Death of an Infant Who Had Received an Electric Shock from an Uncovered Oval Shaped Lamp Switch in His Mouth while in a Hospital
A male infant aged one year and nine months was found dead on a bed after admission to hospital with suspected pneumonia. The patient apparently put an uncovered oval shaped lamp switch (pendant switch) into his mouth and died of electric shock after contacting the exposed wires of the switch (100 V, 60 Hz alternating current). There were extensive first- to fourth-degree burns on the inner surface of the both lips. Because the histological findings were consistent with electric burns and the burns showed vital reactions, electric shock was judged to be the cause of death. The pendant switch is normally a very convenient piece of bedside equipment for inpatients. However, when the patient is an infant who naturally puts all the objects into the mouth, such a switch should be placed out of reach, and it should be certain that the cap is not loose.