Mum saved by water droplets

NEWS: Lightning strike victim makes an incredible recovery

A mother of two may have survived a lightning strike because she had just been in the water at Cairn Curran Reservoir, medical experts say. 

Simone Newman was struck by a bolt about 7.30pm on Wednesday moments after she had gotten out of the water where she was playing with her children. 

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Stuart Coombs said Ms Newman may have survived because the water droplets provided a path for the current to travel through. 

"If the charge enters the body it can be fatal," he said. 

"The water may have let the charge skim over her instead of trying to find water inside her body.

"But it can depend upon what the person is wearing, too.

"If this woman had just been in the water she would not have been wearing much, which is good.

"That means she would not have had any metal on.

"Jewellery and belt buckles provide entry points for the electrical current."

Dr Chris Andrews, a Queensland GP and international authority on lightning injury who has treated more than 150 strike victims, said Ms Newman was lucky to receive CPR when she collapsed after the lightning struck her.

"When someone is struck, the current flows internally through their body for a split second, before flashing over the surface of their skin," he said. 

"The heart stops and breathing ceases.

"The heart can restart itself because it has a kind of natural pacemaker. 

"But breathing doesn't restart on its own.

"That's why CPR is so important.

"It sounds like the people around this woman did exactly what they should have done."

Dr Andrews said it was critical to ensure the person continued to receive oxygen after they were struck by lightning.

"The mortality rates due to lightning strikes are about 10 to 20 per cent," he said. 

About 10 to 12 people die in Australia every year due to lightning strikes. 

Ms Newman remains at Bendigo Hospital in a stable condition. 

La Trobe university Paramedicine senior lecturer Susan Furness said the incident provided a timely reminder for people to know CPR.

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