Electrical burns are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, which are usually preventable with simple safety measures.
We conducted a retrospective study of non-lightening electrocution deaths in Tehran, Iran, between 2002 and 2006.
Of 295 deaths, 285 investigated were accidental. The remnants were suicidal. The age range was 11 months to 75 years with a mean age of 28.99 ± 12.58 years. Two hundred seventy-nine victims (96.6%) were males. The upper extremity was the most frequently involved contact site in 185 deaths (66.3%). No electrical burn marks were present in 16 (5.4%) cases. Work-related accidents were responsible for 188 cases deaths (63.9%) and home accident for 85 cases deaths (28.8%). Deaths were caused most frequently by touching an electrical cable (95 cases, 32.2%). There was an increase in electrocution deaths in the summer (119 cases, 40.3%). One hundred seventy-nine cases (60.7%) were dead on the scene of death and 94 cases (31.9%) were dead on arrival at hospital. The unique findings of our study include 10 cases (3.4%) of suicidal electrocution and a high rate of work-related accidental electrocution among Afghan workers.
Death rates from electrocution among all medico-legal deaths were found to be lower in our study than in previous reports, most of them were work-related and preventable. Workers and their employers should be educated to avoid such accidents with safety measures.
From the *Department of Forensic Medicine, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; **Research Center of Medical Ethics & Medical Law, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; and †Deputy of Research, Legal Medicine Organization of Iran, Tehran, Iran.
Manuscript received August 3, 2007; accepted September 14, 2007.
Figures can be viewed in color at http://amjforensicmedicine.com.
Reprints: Ardeshir Sheikhazadi, MD, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Tehran's University of Medical Sciences, Poursina St Keshavarz Blvd., Tehran, Iran. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.