Monday, 25 June 2012

IMFW: The (Un)Lucky Yasser Lopez

Incredible news recently of an American teenager who was shot straight through the head by a speargun and survived. After a three hour operation to remove the three foot long harpoon from his brain, he has been up and talking. The 16-year old was shot when his friend was loading a spear gun and accidentally fired it in the process. In an incredible stroke of luck, it missed almost all the major blood vessels in his head and pierced only the right side of his brain, meaning that his speech was unaffected.

Yasser Lopez was conscious and speaking when he arrived at the ER -a good sign, although he later had to be sedated; doctors also had to cut off part of the protruding spear before he could fit into the hospital's CT scanner (the scan images are incredible, by the way - I highly recommend following one of the links to take a look).

The story is reminiscent of the famous tale of Phineas Gage, much beloved of neurologists - and it should be remembered that even when people survive such accidents, they are highly likely to be left with some form of impairment, and follow-ups are critical.

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