European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 689–690 | Cite as

Electrical burn injuries secondary to copper theft

  • J. A. DunneEmail author
  • D. J. Wilks
  • D. P. Mather
  • J. M. Rawlins
Letter to the Editor

We welcome the paper by Duci et al. [1], highlighting the complexity and high mortality of electrical injuries, requiring management in a dedicated burns service. Of the high voltage injuries, two committed suicide and the remainder were accidental, with injuries in the workplace commonest. We would like to highlight copper theft as an international cause for high voltage electrical injury, with an illustration of cases over a 5-year period from the Yorkshire regional burns unit in the United Kingdom (UK). Prevention strategies are essential to reduce these devastating injuries.

Copper price has risen dramatically in recent years, with a six-fold increase over the past decade and a large demand from booming economies such as China. Metal theft is one of the fastest rising crimes in the UK, [2] and during sharp price increases scrap copper may reach 90 % of the value of new copper [3]. Approximately 100 copper thefts per month occur in the UK, and the number correlates with a rise in...


Total Body Surface Area Electrical Injury Free Flap Reconstruction Copper Price Contracture Release 
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Conflict of interest

Jonathan Dunne, Daniel Wilks, David Mather and Jeremy Rawlins have no conflicts of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent—obtained.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Dunne
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. J. Wilks
    • 2
  • D. P. Mather
    • 3
  • J. M. Rawlins
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Plastic SurgerySt George’s HospitalLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Plastic SurgeryLeeds General InfirmaryLeedsUK
  3. 3.Department of Plastic Surgery and BurnsPinderfields HospitalWakefieldUK
  4. 4.Department of Plastic Surgery and BurnsRoyal Perth HospitalPerthAustralia

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