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A Death in a Tea Estate as a Result of Illicit Power Trapping


R. H. A. I. Rathnaweera

Faculty of Medicine, Karapitiya, Galle, LK
About R. H. A. I.
Senior lecturer, Department of Forensic Medicine
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Electrocution results when a human is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy. Electrocution is the cause of death for approximately 1000 people in the United States every year. In Sri Lanka common causes for injuries due to electrocution include use of defective electrical appliances, faulty wiring, failure to take safety precautions and installations of unauthorized connections from high tension lines. In this case the diseased was a 48 year-old farmer from a rural area in Galle district. On this particular day, the diseased left home around 9.00 p.m. to go to his paddy field and did not return. The next morning, he was found lying unresponsive on a tea estate near his paddy field. At the post-mortem examination, multiple 2nd degree burns were found on the front aspect of the right upper thigh, back of the middle third of the right forearm, front of the upper third of the left leg and between the base of right thumb and index finger. Ruptured blister was present on the back aspect of the thumb over the metarcarpo-phalangeal joint. Musculo-skeletal dissection revealed charred subcutaneous tissues and superficial layers of the muscles underline the above-mentioned injuries. No deep contusions or fractures were seen. The cause of death was electrocution. This was an unfortunate case of accidental electrocution of a farmer due to application of an unauthorized power line to trap wild animals. The most likely mechanism of death was ventricular fibrillation. A detailed history regarding the incident, scene visit and proper postmortem examination with the histological and toxicological analysis are recommended prior to concluding the cause of death as electrocution.
How to Cite: Rathnaweera, R.H.A.I., 2020. A Death in a Tea Estate as a Result of Illicit Power Trapping. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka, 8(1), pp.27–32. DOI:
Published on 30 Jun 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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