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Archive for Monday, August 31, 2009

Kansas teen recovers from lightning jolt

August 31, 2009

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— A south-central Kansas teen is “back to normal” after possibly being struck by lightning a month ago, the 14-year-old said.

Fourteen-year-old Dakota Lonker was airlifted to a Wichita hospital in critical condition on July 27.

His great-aunt Barbara Lonker said lightning knocked a watermelon-sized chunk of concrete from her deck and then Dakota hit the ground.

Dakota and a cousin were at Barbara Lonker’s house when a thunderstorm started. They were going out to a tent in the backyard to bring in blankets and sleeping bags so they wouldn’t get wet.

Dakota’s Wichita doctor pronounced him completely healed and gave him the OK to participate in fall sports after a checkup last week, said his mother, Jamie Lonker.

Hospital emergency physician Dr. Ruben Garcia said Dakota likely wasn’t hit directly by lightning, but could have just been in the proximity where he felt a jolt.

“In my opinion, he wasn’t directly struck by lightning,” Garcia said. “It could have arced; could be he was in the proximity that he got a decent jolt, enough of a hit that he was definitely critical, in an altered level of consciousness.”

Dakota didn’t remember the incident when he woke up three and a half days later in the hospital.

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