In 2011, Eduardo Garcia was bowhunting elk in Montana. When he stumbled across the body of a dead bear cub, he reacted as an experienced woodsman should, touching it with his knife instead of grabbing with his hand. What Garcia didn’t know was that the cub had been killed after digging up a 2,400-volt power line, and that line was still connected to the bear’s body.
The force of the shock threw Garcia to the ground and left him with severe burns and damage to his left hand, chest, and ribs. Since he was alone deep in the woods, he had to walk three miles for help.
A prosthetic hand, but real talent
Garcia spent 48 days recovering in a burn trauma unit, and was fitted for a prosthetic left hand. A classically trained chef, Garcia knew that he needed to return to cooking despite difficulties with his new artificial limb. He started a food brand called Montana Mex, and continued to hike and cook.
Garcia filmed his journey over the course of four years, as he built his brand and participated in the Challenged Athletes Foundation. In addition to cooking, Garcia continues to hike, and he has recently taken up participating in triathlons. His YouTube channel shows him demonstrating cooking techniques with the help of a simple prosthetic arm. He also has a more advanced motorized bionic hand designed by U.K. tech firm Touch Bionics and fitted by Portland firm Advanced Arm Dynamics.
A short burst of electricity can leave lifelong injuries
The human body is mostly made of water, and electricity flows quickly through water, flowing towards the lowest point and into the ground. Where it encounters resistance, it converts energy into heat, causing burns. Since our nerves run on tiny amounts of electricity, an electric shock can override the human body’s control system, causing muscles to contract or lock into place and preventing the respiratory system and heart from working correctly.
Children suffer the most electrical injuries at home, while adults are most likely to be injured on the job. Severe burns may cause damage to skin and muscle tissue, requiring extensive medical care including skin grafts, physical therapy, and amputations.