62° F
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy

Man hit by lightning hospitalized

Published On: Aug 06 2014 04:32:56 AM CDT   Updated On: Jul 01 2014 07:56:07 PM CDT

A Janesville man struck by lightning Monday afternoon is in critical condition at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center.


A Janesville man struck by lightning Monday afternoon is in critical condition at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center.

Witnesses told Janesville police they saw Gaylin Edwards, 63, get out of his vehicle on Highway 14 near Interstate 39/90 at about 5:15 p.m. when he collapsed. Police said he fell unconscious with a head injury.

Operators of a private ambulance and an off-duty nurse were driving just a couple of cars behind Edwards when they saw him laying unconscious in the middle of the highway, and they started CPR.

Mercy Hospital's EMS Director Jay MacNeal said early response time can make all the difference.

"The early CPR is what really gives people the maximum chance of survival, and again, I think that the Paritech Ambulance crews, the Janesville fire and our ER staff here, everyone did an excellent job," MacNeal said. "The physicians are providing great care and doing the best to protect him neurologically, and we are hopeful that he will recover."

There were storms in the Janesville area at the time, but MacNeal said it's pretty rare for someone to get hit by lightning.

"Your chances of being struck by lightning are 1 in 500,000," MacNeal said.

The Janesville Fire Department was called to the scene, and firefighters said getting out of the car during a thunderstorm can put you at a greater risk for exposure.

"Water and electricity don't mix, and when he was exiting the vehicle near that metal, that whole lightning-to-ground situation comes into play," said Scott Running, with the Janesville Fire Department.

MacNeal said if you are caught in the middle of a lightning storm, the most important thing to remember is to find shelter, but to never lay on the ground.

"There's a myth out there that you want to lay down flat on the ground. That is just going to increase your contact. You actually want to hunch down, kind of like a crash position and cover your ears and squat down like you would in an airplane crash," MacNeal said.

This is the first reported case of a person being hit by lightning in Wisconsin this year.

  • Life ring from El Faro found


    Timeline: El Faro sinking

    The captain of the missing container ship El Faro is capable and experienced, a friend says, and likely believed he had a good plan to avoid Hurricane Joaquin in the Atlantic when he and 32 other crew members departed Florida for Puerto Rico last week. Take a look at details of El Faro's sinking.

  • Oil fracking in California

    David McNew/Getty Images

    10 biggest strikes in U.S. history

    The United Auto Workers union is prepared to strike Fiat Chrysler Wednesday. The strike would be the first in the industry since 2007, affecting about 40,000 workers. Take a look back at the 10 biggest strikes in U.S. history.

  • Australian baby possum snuggles with toy kangaroo

    From Taronga Zoo via CNN

    Orphaned baby possum snuggles with toy kangaroo

    Photos of an orphaned baby possum cuddling with a stuffed toy kangaroo at an Australian wildlife hospital has given the Internet a major case of the feels.