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Grey's Anatomy

Medical Trauma Drama: Do Lightning Strikes Happen in Real Life?

Do lightning strikes happen in real life like they did on the last episode of Grey's Anatomy? You betcha. Those unfortunate enough to be struck by lightning have a 10 to 30% chance of dying. (But let’s think of it as a 70 to 90% of living, right?) And those who do survive have an 80% chance of long-term injury. (Hey now, that’s a 20% of being unscathed in the long run.)

Injuries can happen in a variety of ways, as we saw in the episode. One can be struck by lightning (which doesn’t bode well for one’s survival chances), one can be electrocuted by an object that was struck, one can be struck by a side splash (which happens when the current jumps from a nearby object), one can be struck through the ground, and one can be injured by the blast. Your chances are better if you have high “skin resistance,” though we have no idea how one goes about achieving that. Your chances are worse if you’re wearing something metallic... or listening to an iPod. Yikes!

Doctor’s orders: stay inside during thunderstorms. It is not the time for flag football.


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