Survivor Story: Todd
Stay Away from Metal in a Storm
On Thursday, July 11, 1991, Todd was home, inside
his garage, repairing the exhaust system of his car. Although
Todd was not aware of it at the time, the cirrus anvil of a
distant storm was starting to spread overhead and a dangerous
electrical potential was developing between the positively-charged
anvil cloud and the negatively charged ground. To Todd, the
sky appeared to be partly cloudy with no apparent indication
of the storm. Suddenly, lightning struck nearby, traveled in
and along the ground, and through the garage floor. Todd was
hit as he installed the muffler on the car. The rain from the
storm didn't arrive for an estimated 20 to 30 minutes after
the lightning strike. Todd suffered burns on the right side
of his body and in his throat, and had tremors in his left side
immediately after the strike. Fortunately, Todd remained conscious
and was able to call for help.
Todd's outward appearance, however, does not begin
to show the debilitating injuries that he has suffered, and continues
to suffer from the lightning strike. Like many lightning victims,
Todd suffered irreversible nerve damage and has lived in constant
pain for the past 10 years. Despite 15 operations and numerous
consultations with specialists, Todd's severe pain continues.
He is unable to work, and on some days, he is unable to function
due to excruciating pain. Since the incident, Todd also suffers
from short-term memory loss.
Todd was 24 years old at the time of the incident.
Now, almost ten years later, Todd is willing to tell his story
in the hopes that other lightning victims will feel some comfort
in knowing that they are not alone, and so that people will become
more aware of the dangers of lightning and the devastating effects
it can have on a person's life. Todd's mother, Carol, is very
supportive of Todd and this effort. She finds it difficult to
see her son in so much pain.
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