What It's Like to be Struck by Lightning

Jason Marlin of ars technica was struck by a bolt of lightning. He was apparently okay enough to write about it right away.  

Yesterday, I was sitting in my studio office—basically a converted garage—while a thunderstorm brewed outside. After wrapping up a conference call with some of Ars' finest, I was getting ready to dive back into work when the storm really picked up. "Ahhhh," I thought as I leaned back in my chair to stare out at the strange greenish light against a purple-clouded backdrop. "So beautiful!"

At that moment—and this part is a little foggy—a bright arc of electricity shot through the window and directly into my chest. I'm not sure whether the arc originated from the sky or the ground, but it knocked me out of my chair. I hit the concrete floor and bounced back up to my feet, which were shuffling at top speed into a bookshelf. I remember thinking, "OK, going to die now. Do not fall down. Do not pass out."

I've read that being struck by lightning is akin to a being hit by a huge defibrillator. I'm not sure about that—but it did feel magnitudes worse than the time I touched an electric fence as a kid.

The paramedics urged him to go to a hospital for tests, but he declined. Read the rest of his first-hand account and the aftermath. Link -via Digg


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I once met a lady who had been struck by lightning when she was a forest ranger. It did something to her teeth fillings (probably vaporized them) and she had to keep going to the dentist. It also fried something in her brain that messed up her metabolism, so she gained lots of weight. She had been skinny, but will live the rest of her life as an obese woman. Sad, that.
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I've been around high voltage long enough to have seen a few accidents and talked to a few people that survived previous accidents, and doctors have always made a big deal about them needing to go in to have their heart checked after the accident, even in cases where the current didn't look like it went through the chest. It mostly amounts to sitting next to an EKG machine for an hour, while reading or otherwise trying not too be bored. They just wanted to check that the heart rhythm was ok, which it seems to be in most cases, but I guess it can highlight heart problems you may have not known you had or in rare cases cause issues that are difficult to see at first.
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