Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Protocols for documentation of electrical injuries for electrical safety inspectors and emergency medical practitioners

Andrews, Christopher J. MBBS, MEngSc, PhD; Panescu, Dorin MSECE, PhD

Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: August 2019 - Volume 87 - Issue 2 - p 483–490
doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000002346

BACKGROUND Electric shocks are common, and victims report difficulty in finding practitioners with knowledge of the injury. Medical Practitioners, especially in private practice, report lack of knowledge of the injury and lack of expertise in assessing and treating the injury. The authors are often requested to suggest investigation protocols, assessment protocols, and treatment protocols, and to provide educational information.

METHODS The international body establishing electrical standards on the effects of current on the body (International Electrotechnical Commission, Maintenance Team 4 (MT4) of Technical Committee 64 (TC64)) have established protocols for the factors which require documentation and reporting of the injury. This article provides a narrative approach to using these protocols in accord with the standards (IEC 60479). The level of evidence is Level III (US/Canada classification).

TYPE This article collects together and collates physical and medical aspects of investigating electric shocks, and summarizes those of importance, and which are potentially forgotten. The thoroughness of initial assessment is emphasized.

SUBSTANCE Summaries are set out to guide first attenders and emergency medical personnel as to findings and observations which must be recorded for later comprehensive medicolegal reporting and which are often overlooked.

CONCLUSION Wider teaching in the nature of electric shocks will enhance assessment of victims and thorough recording of pertinent information and thus will enhance later medicolegal reporting. Many such factors are initially overlooked and lead to inadequate reporting for forensic purposes.

From the Faculty of Medicine (C.J.A.), University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia; and Zidan Medical, Inc. (D.P.), San Jose, California.

Submitted: October 2, 2018, Revised: April 2, 2019, Accepted: April 7, 2019, Published online: April 26, 2019.

Address for reprints: Christopher J. Andrews, PhD, Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia; email:

Online date: April 30, 2019

© 2019 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.