News State Western Australia ‘I just want my baby to wake up’: Girl’s organs overheated after massive electric shock

‘I just want my baby to wake up’: Girl’s organs overheated after massive electric shock

Denishar Woods
Denishar Woods remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital.
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The family of a little girl who has been left in a coma after receiving a massive electrical shock from a garden tap say her organs have overheated and they fear she has been permanently injured.

Denishar Woods, 11, is in a critical condition in Princess Margaret Hospital after being shocked while turning off a garden tap at her home in Beldon on Saturday night.

Her mother, Lacey Harrison, was also injured as she tried to drag her daughter out of a pool of electrified water.

Ms Harrison said family and friends have rallied around in support, but she fears her daughter has suffered organ damage.

She said her organs reached 38 degrees Celsius and she was on a cooling pad in hospital to try to limit the damage.

“There’s no signs of whether or not she’s going to pull through. They’re just keeping her organs cool,” Ms Harrison said.

“I’m just sitting there looking at my daughter wondering what’s next, when can she wake up, can she wake up?”

Small shock before power surge

Ms Harrison said she was out watering in the garden on Saturday night when the power to the house went out.

When she went to the meter box to turn the power back on, she received a small electric shock.

She said she contacted the Department of Housing emergency contact line to notify them of the fault, but she said no one warned her not to touch anything.

Her daughter then went to turn the garden hose off and was instantly gripped by a massive electrical current.

Denishar Woods' mother Lacey Harrison and sister Anita Woods
Lacey Harrison, with Denishar’s sister Anita, went to help her daughter and was also shocked. Photo: ABC

Ms Harrison said she was personally very unwell after the incident, but checked out of hospital early so she could be with her daughter.

“I should be laying there, not her,” Ms Harrison said.

“She’s only little, she should be going to school tomorrow, not sitting in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of her.

“I have one of her best friends from school, I’m hoping that her voice might try and wake her up, any sign that someone can wake her up, any little trigger.

“I just want my baby to wake up.”

She said electrical work had been conducted at the house recently, and she had previously encountered a burning electrical smell on and off since last year.

Shock almost five times enough to cause harm

Tap at Beldon house where Denishar Woods got electric shock
Denishar was trying to turn off a hose at her Beldon home when she received the electric shock. Photo: ABC

Mike Bunko, Director of Electricity at Energy Safety, said it was likely Denishar had received a shock between 230 and 240 volts AC.

“It’s sufficient to cause serious damage,” Mr Bunko said.

“Anything above 50 volts AC is dangerous.”

Mr Bunko said it was probably the most serious case of an electric shock he had seen and was due to a malfunction known as an “open circuit neutral”.

He said Australia used the “multiple earth neutral system”, which was very safe but things could go wrong.

“If the neutral is open circuited it returns through the earth,” he said.

“So in this case, when Ms Woods touched the hose, she became part of the electrical circuit.”

He also said the soil in WA could have made the effects of the shock worse.

“The earth in Western Australia – there’s a lot of silicone in the soil – it’s not a good very conductor,” he said.

“Therefore you can get a voltage build-up on that earthing system and if you happen to present yourself as a better conductor to return the electricity through – in other words the ground is wet and you touch a tap – you’re going to get an electric shock.”

Mr Bunko said work will now be done to determine what caused the open circuit neutral to occur, with the most likely causes erosion, loose connections or workmanship.