Thursday 1st June 2017 – 2.08pm – Murray MacGregor.
Two teenagers have suffered serious injuries after being electrocuted.
The incident happened at about 11.45am on parkland next to Durham Road in Wednesbury – a railway line runs down the other side of the parkland.
An ambulance, a paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford with a trauma doctor on board were sent to the scene.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found two boys on the parkland who had suffered serious injuries after being electrocuted.
“Staff were told that four teenage boys had been playing next to the railway line.
“The two injured, who are believed to be 13 years old, were taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, one by air ambulance, the other by land ambulance using blue lights.
“The teenager airlifted was said to be in a critical condition.”
For the record, may I point out that the definition of electrocution is death by electric shock. Since these two teenagers were not dead they were not “electrocuted”. Perhaps your official spokesman should invest in a dictionary?
Hi Mark, thanks for your message. We’ve actually had this debate before after a similar case a few years ago. We do have a dictionary but it does depend on which dictionary or source you refer to. Here’s just a few examples:
Collins Dictionary – If someone is electrocuted, they are accidentally killed or badly injured when they touch something connected to a source of electricity.
Oxford Dictionary – The injury or killing of someone by electric shock.
Cambridge Dictionary – to kill someone by causing electricity to flow through their body
Wikipedia – Electrocution is death caused by electric shock, electric current passing through the body. The word is derived from “electro” and “execution”, but it is also used for accidental death. The word is also used to describe non-fatal injuries due to electricity.
Google definition – the injury or killing of someone by electric shock.
Macmillan Dictionary – to kill or injure someone with electricity.
Chambers – to kill someone or something by electric shock. 2 to carry out a death sentence on someone by means of electricity
From an ambulance service perspective, we used the word ‘electrocuted’ in our press release after seeking guidance from our clinical staff.
Thank you again for your message
Thanks for taking the trouble to reply. My decision to challenge you follows a career which includes six years as a safety journalist and 20 as a national press spokesman for the Health & Safety Executive. The rule has always been simple: if the subject didn’t die, they weren’t electrocuted. I suspect some definitions you cite are taking into account actual, rather than correct, use of the term. Practical issues also play a part (especially where the media are concerned); it’s quicker, simpler and takes up fewer characters to say/write “electrocuted” than “suffered electric shock” but that does not make it correct. I note that British Transport Police’s announcements did not use the term. I appreciate your priorities are concerned with saving patients; please don’t murder the English language in the process.
I appreciate your explanation and vast experience in the use of the word. As I mentioned, we rely on information we receive from clinicians and used the word ‘electrocuted’ in good faith after researching it. We understand your need to challenge as we have a similar gripe with people interchanging cardiac arrest and heart attack.
We will certainly take on board your comments in the future.
Thanks for listening (reading).