Man in coma after using unauthorised charger with iPhone 4

Jilin resident in hospital after receiving serious electric shock

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 July, 2013, 2:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 6:10pm

A Chinese man was in a coma fighting for his life on Friday after receiving a huge electric shock as he tried to charge up his iPhone with an unauthorised charger.

The case comes just days after a 23-year-old stewardess was killed as she answered her iPhone 4 while it was charging.

Wu Jian, originally from Jilin province, had been charging his iPhone 4 on July 8, holding the phone in his left hand while inserting the phone charger into an electrical outlet with his right, according to the Beijing Evening News. According to his sister, Wu suddenly fell to the floor twitching. He remained there until his sister was able to unplug the charger. 

“I also felt a shock from my hand to foot [as I unplugged it],” Wu’s sister said.

Wu’s sister said that her brother was foaming from the mouth and not breathing by the time ambulances arrived. Medical staff had to pry open the fingers of Wu’s left hand open to remove the iPhone 4. He was then rushed to an emergency room in Beijing’s Haidian Hospital.

Haidian Hospital ICU deputy director Qin Long said on July 18 that Wu had “definitely suffered from an electric shock” causing cardiac arrest and depriving his brain of oxygen.

A lawyer interviewed by Beijing News, Lu Feng, said that if Wu’s family could prove that the charger had caused Wu to collapse into a coma, they could make a claim against the charger’s manufacturer.

The brand of the charger was not specified in the report, although it is only one of many non-authorised and fake phone chargers commonly sold and purchased around China.

An electrical expert from Jilin University, surnamed Liu, told Wu’s family that fake chargers are usually poorly insulated and may generate sparks when inserted into electrical outlets - especially in moist environments. Wu's family confirmed that during the day of the incident, it had been raining and the air inside the house was very humid. 

It is the latest case of chargers electrocuting people. Most recently, Ma Ailun of Xinjiang was killed by an electrical jolt when charging her iPhone 4 with a fake Apple battery charger.

So far, Apple has only commented on the case of the Xinjiang woman, saying the company was “deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and…will fully investigate and co-operate with the authorities in this matter”.