The ice bucket challenge is a fundraiser for ALS.  If you haven’t heard of it yet you may have at least seen the videos on the news or social media and wondered what all the fuss was about.  The challenge is issued via video and the person named must either accept or donate to the ALS foundation.  However, this good deed went wrong recently when four firefighters suffered from electric shock injuries while helping with the challenge in the rural town of Campbellsville, Kentucky.  The firefighters were on the fire truck raising the bucket arm of the truck to dump water on participants when it came within several feet of an overhead power line.  This caused an electric arc to strike four fire fighters. 

Though these firemen were injured by electrical shock while close to power lines electric shock injuries can happen basically anywhere. This includes your workplace or at home when using electrical equipment. In many cases, electrocution injuries occur in construction settings or while someone is doing work on trees or cable lines.  One of our clients was simply taking a shower at a hotel when he received a career ending electrical shock injury.  He was a commercial pilot who was permanently disabled by a light fixture that was not made to get wet and electrocuted the man.  He received $1.5 million in a settlement with the hotel’s owner.

There is no news yet as to how severe the fire fighter’s injuries are, an electric shock injury to an individual depends on the intensity of the voltage to which the person was exposed, the route of the current through the body, the victim’s state of health, and the speed and adequacy of the treatment. If you survive an electric shock, there are likely to be many terrible side effects that may affect the quality of your life. Doctors are now beginning to realize that the long-term effects of electric shock injuries can be varied, delayed, misunderstood but are certainly serious. For example, long-term cognitive and emotional problems may occur after an electric shock injury.