iPhone Electrocution Puts Man In Coma: Unauthorized Apple Charger To Blame?

 @redletterdave
on July 19 2013 11:52 AM
iPhone
A 30-year-old Chinese man has been in a coma for the last 10 days after getting shocked while charging his iPhone. Wikipedia.org

After a 23-year-old Chinese woman was killed via electric shock when answering a call on her iPhone last week, the Beijing Wan Bao reported on Thursday that a 30-year-old Chinese man has been in a coma for the past 10 days after getting shocked while charging his iPhone.

Wu Jiantong, who's being held in an intensive care unit in the Hai Dian Hospital in Beijing, reportedly yelled “I’m getting shocked” on July 8 at 10 p.m. local time when he connected his iPhone 4 to a charger. The man’s sister said she came to his rescue and pulled the charger out of its socket. She said her brother was writhing and foaming at the mouth but totally unresponsive.

“I then felt needle-like pains on my fingertips,” Wu’s sister, Jian Xiang, said. “The current was running from my finger, through to my arm and body, and to the foot.”

Medics gave CPR to Wu as soon as the ambulance arrived, but doctors said he wasn’t breathing by the time he reached the hospital. Still, they were able to resuscitate him. Wu eventually stabilized but fell into a coma three days later due to a lack of oxygen supply to his brain.

“It was no doubt an electric shock,” Wu’s doctor said at the Hai Dian Hospital.

According to the Beijing Wan Bao, Wu was using an unauthorized third-party iPhone charger that resembled the new charger for the iPhone 5. Tangfan Wei, an authorized engineer for Apple parts, said the iPhone charger normally reduces the 220V working voltage to about 5V, which is much lower than the 36V of electricity the human body can withstand. However, the uncertified iPhone charger may have been prone to conduction issues, which may have given Wu a 220V electric shock.

On Wednesday, the South China Morning Post reported that Ma Ailun, the Chinese flight attendant killed by an electric shock from her iPhone last week, was also using an unauthorized non-Apple-made iPhone 4 charger when she was electrocuted.

“Knockoff chargers sometimes cut corners,” telecommunications expert Xiang Ligang told CCTV. “The quality of the capacitor and circuit protector may not be good, and this may lead to the capacitor breaking down and sending 220 volts of electricity directly into the cell phone battery.”

According to Xiang, China uses 220 volts, but Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan all use an electrical voltage of 110 volts. If a charger is made to only accommodate 110 volts, it’s possible for the charger to break down and become overloaded, which can either overheat the phone and damage its circuits or burn and electrocute anyone touching the phone. The police are continuing to investigate this case.

A spokesperson for Apple commented on the death of Ma Ailun, saying the company was “deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and ... will fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter.” We reached out to Apple to comment on the iPhone electrocution of Wu Jiantong, and we’ll update this story as soon as we receive a response.

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