Arizona girl practically unscathed after nearly losing life to lightning strike
PHOENIX – A 12-year-old Arizona girl is lucky to be alive after being struck by lightning over the weekend, but doctors say it could have been much worse if it wasn’t for the quick action by the girl’s father.
The bolt stopped the girl’s heart as she was playing outside. Her father rushed to help.
Dr. Kevin Foster, director of the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health, speaking at a virtual media briefing said, “I think the instrumental thing in saving her was that her father recognized that her heart had stopped, and he was able to do effective CPR and get her heart started again, and that literally saved her life.”
Even that almost wasn’t enough. Foster said, after reviving the girl once, her heart stopped beating again inside the family’s home. It’s a story that could have gone a much different way, and often do, according to Foster.
“Unless you have somebody on the scene, like this gal’s father, who knows how to do CPR, those patients generally die very quickly.”
She’ll be going home virtually unscathed.
“Since that time, she has recovered very well,” Foster said. “She’s been extubated, neurologic status is excellent, no acute injuries, no burns that we have to worry about and she will actually be going home very soon.”
While this story has a happy ending, Foster wants to remind others how to keep themselves safe. “If you can see lightning, or if you can hear thunder, you can get struck,” Foster said.
He continued by saying if you do notice those warning signs, you’re in danger and need to get to a safe place.
While lightning strikes hitting people remains an extremely rare phenomenon, Foster said Arizona has a disproportionate number of victims.
He partially credits this to the quick developing nature and severity of Valley storms. From 2006-21, CDC data shows 17 people have died to lightning Arizona. That number ranks sixth in the nation during that span.