Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Burn Care Res. 2010 Mar-Apr;31(2):341-6. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3181d0f50d.

Electrical injuries due to theft of copper.

Author information

  • 1Department of Plastic Surgery, Burn Center, Ospedale Civico e Benfratelli, Palermo, Italy.

Abstract

This study shows that the theft of copper, mainly from electrical wires, is becoming a more frequent crime as the value of this metal rises. We have collected all the data from the Burn Centre of the Hospital of Palermo, Italy, from 1992 to 2007. Over the last two decades, we assisted to a dramatic increase of patients admitted to our hospital, reporting burn injuries while attempting to steal it in dangerous conditions. The circumstances of the injury, the clinical management of the case, and the long-term consequences are presented and discussed. We found that the electrical burn related to the theft of copper is often a life-threatening event because of the high-voltage electrical current passing through the patients. Patients, due to the type of activity, often requiring physical effort, were generally young and healthy. From a review of the literature on the subject, we have noticed that theft of copper is not reported as an important risk factor for electrical burns. Our report clearly shows that theft of copper-related electrical injury is becoming more frequent in the community and should be added as a "new" risk factor. The already high incidence reported here may actually be lower than the actual incidence because many patients tend not to come to the hospital because of the risk of being prosecuted by the police.

PMID:
20182374
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk