Tagging along to help his stepdad for the day, spiky-haired 20-year-old Michael Pruitt was carrying a metal ladder at a Livonia jobsite when it touched a live electrical wire. “I remember being electrocuted while holding that ladder and shaking, and then nothing,” he said.
The homeowner at the jobsite called 911 and began CPR. Livonia Fire & Rescue arrived four minutes later. They continued CPR and defibrillated Pruitt while taking him to the Level 2 Emergency & Trauma Center at Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills.
“They brought in this perfect young man who had no vital signs. I said to my team, ‘We’re bringing him back.’ And then, I said to him, ‘You better come back!’” Dr. Angel Chudler said.
They shocked his heart again with a defibrillator. Nothing. Dr. Chudler went with a more intense shock the second time. Within two minutes, his heart started beating again.
“When he became conscious again, he was like The Hulk, grabbing the railings and shaking the bed with huge strength. It took the entire care team to hold Michael,” Beaumont clinical nurse Yasmeen Bachir, RN, said. “I guess every superhero has to die at least once.”
Barbara Smith, RN, director, Trauma Services, Beaumont, Farmington Hills, added, “In less than five minutes, brain cells start to die from lack of oxygen. Michael’s resuscitation is miraculous. He did not lose any brain function. It’s a testament to the importance of immediate and continuous CPR to move oxygenated blood to the brain.”
Pruitt’s mom, Jillian, a rehabilitation tech at Beaumont Hospital, Taylor said, “I knew he’d be okay when Michael made a sarcastic gesture when I asked if he had any other superpowers. My first-born had returned from the dead!”
Pruitt was wounded in the place where the high voltage electricity exited his body – through his big toes, which were burned from the inside. His toes are bandaged and healing.
“When my folks ask me to take out the garbage now, I’ve been trying to use my painful big toes as an excuse not to do it,” Michael jested.
Pruitt, who lives in Taylor with his parents and siblings, commemorated this experience by getting a new tattoo to honor the miracle. The image over his heart is the sacred all-seeing eye of God inside a triangle surrounded by a Native American dreamcatcher.
“When people ask if my hair spikes naturally, now I tell them it’s because I was electrocuted,” Michael joked.
Electrical energy exposure might result in no injury, devastating damage or death
Recovery from electric shock depends on the nature and severity of the injuries. The percentage of the body surface area burned is the most important factor affecting prognosis. Potential symptoms of an electric shock include:
- loss of consciousness
- muscle spasms
- ·numbness or tingling
- breathing problems
- problems with vision or hearing
- irregular heartbeat
Electrical damage to the brain could result in a permanent seizure disorder, depression, anxiety or other personality changes. An electrical current can also cause internal damage, cardiac arrest or other injuries.