LEBANON, Maine — The East Lebanon teenager who was struck by lightning while he was in his home Sunday night has been released from the hospital.
The young teenage boy was struck by lighting around 8:38 p.m. Sunday, when he was inside his Diamond Drive home with his whole family. According to the Rescue Department, the boy was transported to Goodall Hospital in Sanford after the incident, but on Monday, a family member of the youth reported he has since been released.
The incident happened during a thunderstorm that struck the southern Maine area Sunday. According to John Jensenius, lightning safety specialist at the National Weather Service, a lightning strike can cause injury to humans that ranges from a small shock to death. Nationwide, he said, residents get struck by lightning every year.
Jensenius said that in the past 10 years, five people were killed after being struck by lightning in Maine, while there have not been any fatal lightning strikes in New Hampshire over the past decade. He said Maine is the seventh highest state in the nation per capita for people getting killed by lightning. For every fatal lightning strike, about nine more are struck by lightning and survive, he said. Jensenius said that while getting struck by lightning inside a home is a bit unusual, it does happen.
In order for lightning to strike a person inside a building, that person would have to be, in some way, connected to a conductor from the outside, either by touching something plugged into an electrical outlet, standing next to a door or window, or even washing his or her hands at a faucet.
Contact with water can be dangerous during a thunderstorm, since lightning can strike metal water pipes on the outside of a home, and then transfer the electric charge through the water. When lightning strikes a person, it can cause problems with the heart and brain, including pain and memory loss. The electric charge running through the body can cause damage to the nerve cells. The neurological injuries, said Jensenius, can be devastating and permanent. Jensenius pointed out that proper response to thunderstorms can prevent people from being struck by lightning.
“If you hear thunder you need to get to a safe place immediately,” he said. “You want to keep an eye on the sky, watch for dangerous and developing conditions.” Once inside, Jensenius recommends that residents stay away from anything electrical during a thunderstorm, and avoid being next to plumbing, windows, and doors. If a person does get struck by lightning, it is always a good idea to get evaluated by a doctor, said Jensenius.
Distributed by MCT Information Services