Electric Water Heater Killed A Woman During Shower

The accident scene

A 34-year-old woman, while in the shower, died of electrocution due to electrification of the metal jacketing of the electric water heater and its plug

The police found a 34-year-old woman lying naked on the bathroom floor of her rental housing. The doctors announced her death on the scene. The police failed to detect proof of struggle at the crime scene. However, they found a potentially risky layout of shower devices, i.e., the electric water heater and its plug were inside the bathroom, near the head of the shower. Moreover, the metal plumbing and showerhead lacked any insulation. Additionally, the electrical shower device was not earthed.

Since the bathroom was highly humid during the shower, there was a high risk of the electric water heater’s metal jacketing becoming easily electrified. Subsequently, the current circuit was available from the electrified jacketing to the metal plumbing, shower head, and the victim standing on the ground.

External examination revealed 4 suspected electric marks on the dorsal side of her right hand. The marks, which were round to oval, measured 1.9cm×1.4cm, 0.5cm×1.0cm, 1.0cm×0.4cm, 0.8cm×0.4cm, respectively. Moreover, the lesions had raised borders highly suggestive of typical electric marks.

One of the lesions revealed localized exfoliation. However, there were no other fatal injuries on the body. Histopathological analysis of the lesions showed localized exfoliation; detachment and comb of the epidermis, called “gaseous cavitation”. It also showed epithelial cells and cutaneous appendage cells which were hyperchromatic, elongated, and compressed, showing a “stream of nuclei.” Moreover, the dermal collagen was swollen and homogenized, with increased eosinophilic staining.

Internal examination on autopsy revealed congested internal organs. Toxicological analysis of specimens obtained from the blood, urine, and stomach contents ruled out poisoning. With all the above findings, the cause of death was accidental electrocution.


Pathak AK, Disania NL. Pattern and seasonal variations in death due to electrocution: A retrospective study. Int J Med Sci Public Health. 2015;4(1): 19-22.


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Dr. Arsia Parekh
Dr. Arsia Hanif has been a meritorious Healthcare professional with a proven track record throughout her academic life securing first position in her MCAT examination and then, in 2017, she successfully completed her Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery from Dow University of Health Sciences. She has had the opportunity to apply her theoretical knowledge to the real-life scenarios, as a House Officer (HO) serving at Civil Hospital. Whilst working at the Civil Hospital, she discovered that nothing satisfies her more than helping other humans in need and since then has made a commitment to implement her expertise in the field of medicine to cure the sick and regain the state of health and well-being. Being a Doctor is exactly what you’d think it’s like. She is the colleague at work that everyone wants to know but nobody wants to be. If you want to get something done, you approach her – everyone knows that! She is currently studying with Medical Council of Canada and aspires to be a leading Neurologist someday. Alongside, she has taken up medical writing to exercise her skills of delivering comprehensible version of the otherwise difficult medical literature. Her breaks comprise either of swimming, volunteering services at a Medical Camp or spending time with family.


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