The modern operating theatre presents a highly complex and busy environment with a huge variety of machines, devices and gadgets. This article from France will be of interest to urologists, nurses, anaesthetists and theatre managers alike. We all use electrical current and diathermy machines every day. Diathermy burns would be a nightmare. This article makes very interesting reading from the simple question of ‘what is an electric shock’ through to multi-organ failure. Renal failure can also develop due to muscle damage and myoglobinuria. Factors that determine the severity of electric trauma are voltage, resistance to current flow, A/C or D/C duration of contact, wet or dry surface, etc. As per American Burn Association guidelines, 4400 people are injured in electrical accidents and about 400 die from electrocutions per year in the USA which are mostly work-related. So beware! It is never too late to learn.

Electrical injury.
Waldmann V, Narayanan K, Combes N, Marijon E.
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Arun K Sharma

West Herts NHS Trust (Watford General Hospital)

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