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Int J Legal Med. 2014 Apr 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Wrist fracture in a 6-year-old girl after an accidental electric shock at low voltages.

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  • 1Département de Médecine Légale, CHU Lapeyronie, 371 avenue du Doyen Gaston Giraud, 34295, Montpellier cedex 5, France, pa-peyron@chu-montpellier.fr.


Bone injuries related to electric shocks are usually seen with high-voltage current exposure or with additional traumas, such as falls. Few cases of fractures after electric shocks at low-voltages (with no direct blunt trauma) are reported in the literature. They result from electrically-induced tetanic muscle contractions. Most of them involve the proximal appendicular skeleton, while distal fractures of limbs are uncommon. We report the case of a 6-year-old girl who suffered local superficial burns of the hand and a distal radius buckle-type fracture after sustaining a 230-V electric shock. The accident occurred while the girl was touching with the right hand the metallic stand of a non-insulated street lamp. She felt a sudden jolt and managed to pull her hand free quickly, without falling or losing consciousness. The superficial burns of the hand were consistent with Jellinek's electric marks, while the buckle fracture of the radius was consistent with a forceful contraction of the flexor muscles of the hand. Only four cases of radius fractures resulting from accidental electric shocks at low voltages have been previously reported in the literature. All of them involved pediatric patients, suggesting that a child's vulnerability to this kind of fracture may exist. The present case is the youngest one ever described.

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