BMJ Case Reports 2017; doi:10.1136/bcr-2016-218188

Clinical management of electrical burns in the developing world: a case of electrical burn injury left untreated leading to amputation

  1. Allen G Ross1
  1. 1Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Southport, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2Municipal Medical Officer of Health, Palpag, Philippines
  3. 3Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Muntinlupa City, Philippines
  1. Correspondence to Professor Allen Ross, a.ross{at}
  • Accepted 1 February 2017
  • Published 15 February 2017


We discuss the case of a 26-year-old male patient from Northern Samar, the Philippines who was left without essential health services after the amputation of all four limbs following a high voltage (20 000 volts) injury in Metro Manila in 2011. Local health services in the developing world are faced with enormous challenges in providing first-line care for burn patients. The cost of maintaining a burn unit, finding suitable qualified staff, and appropriate referral mechanisms are only some of the challenges faced. Once a patient is discharged from hospital they face more obstacles in obtaining artificial limbs, physiotherapy and access to mental health services. Disability pensions are non-existent thus patients place a considerable lifelong burden on their families.


  • Contributors The case report was written and conceived by MC and AR. MC and JRG interviewed the patient. DC was involved in data collection and interpretation of the findings.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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