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back to article Ludicrously lucky teen survives spear through brain

Sixteen-year-old Yasser Lopez will likely have a "miraculous recovery" despite a three-foot spear having been thrust through his head. "If you had to have a spear go through there [the head], then this spear chose the right path to go with the least damage," neurosurgeon Ross Bullock told ABC News. The Reg admits to some …

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IT Angle

Phineas Gage....

....rest in peace

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IT Angle

Re: Phineas Gage....

Well, I heard he turned out to be a real bastard, so screw him!

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Re: Phineas Gage....

Thank you, this was my immediate thought when I read it. Ripley's Believe it or not will have to buy his skull when he dies.

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Trollface

Stick a trident in him...

...he's done.

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Coat

Re: Stick a trident in him...

A Trident would be way too big. Even the Hunley or the Ictineo would be.

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Re: Stick a trident in him...

Reminds me of the old Not the Nine O'Clock news sketch that went along the lines of..

"The bullet passed right through his head, missing his brain by 6 feet"

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Not the Nine O'Clock News

Yeah, I came in to crack that joke, modifying the distance to three feet.

The original was about Idi Amin surviving an assassination attempt, by the way.

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min

this chap...

...just isn't supposed to win that Darwin award. Lucky one.

must try harder.

At least he'll live to tell the tale. Perhaps even give others pointers on how to avoid the tip of the spear.Even if they need such advice like they need an arrow through the head.

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Re: this chap...

Wouldn't qualify for a Darwin Award, min. He didn't do it to himself.

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Re: this chap...

Bad choice of friends? Low Chlormidian quotient? If 'tis better to be lucky than to be good, then perhaps this one is weak in the Force.

Can we say he is responsible for this "accident" at some existential level?

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He arrives in hospital alive.. so why are they surprised to find it missed anything that would have killed him instantly?

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Anonymous Coward

A priori

Presumably they were using their medical expertise and saying that, a priori, a spear through the head is very likely to result in a fast death. At least I hope it's not based on a high-confidence sample.

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The temptation

"The temptation if you don't have experience with these things is, 'Oh well, pull it out' "

I would have thought the temptation would be to run around screaming and then call an ambulance.

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Re: The temptation

I'd like to know where - other than Deliverance - one might expect a long sharp thing to be pulled out.

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Def
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Re: The temptation

Actually, if I absolutely had to do something, my first instinct would be to cut it down to a manageable length and push it through.

Either that or cut it right down and maybe put some flowers on it.

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First rule of weapons handling:

Never point the business end at a life-form unless you intend to kill it.

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Pint

Re: First rule of weapons handling:

My friend had a "gun" dog that as soon as he picked up a rifle/shotgun would move like lightning to his owners left leg; we were convinced it had seen enough of what happened to things the "business" end had seen to and it was determined not to be one of them.

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@ESR (was: Re: First rule of weapons handling:)

All my gundogs have done that, since before I can remember. It's called good training. I don't hunt anymore, but my old Standard Poodle[1] still does that, and then gets disgusted when we head for my target range. When the migrating geese are over-nighting on my ponds, he sits on the rug in front of the fireplace, staring at Grandad's old shotgun that hangs over it, and occasionally shoots me a withering look ... He never quite managed to make the change between "Browning" and "Hasselblad" :-/

Side note: Beer & weapons are never a good mix.

[1] Wonderful bird dogs, if you know what you are doing.

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Facepalm

Re: @ESR (was: First rule of weapons handling:)

Jake,

I wouldn't mind betting all your down votes are from urbanites who think all meat come from Tesco, so "nothing has to be killed to provide it".

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Re: First rule of weapons handling:

The same could be said for an ITIL PowerPoint presentation ;-)

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Luckily?

"Luckily, the paramedics who stabilized Lopez... ...didn't succumb to that temptation."

Or more accurately...

"luckily the well-trained paramedics... ...didn't succumb to forgetting their training".

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Never mind the spear...

...check out the teeth.

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Shouldn't that be boatnote or shootnote?

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WTF?

I used to be a fisherman like you

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WTF?

Saburo Sakai

Getting an object through the brain isn't necessarily fatal, as was illustrated by the case of Saburo Sakai:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabur%C5%8D_Sakai

In his case, he took a .30 caliber machine gun bullet through his head, and managed to fly his plane back to the base.

Dave

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Joke

Glad he still has motor function - he'll need it to punch his 'friend' in the face.

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WTF?

Any spearfishing experts care to comment?

It's a _very_ long time since I went spearfishing, but I remember having (a) spring loaded barb(s) on the spear to stop the fish wriggling off. What would you catch with the kind of spear imaged here?

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Re: Any spearfishing experts care to comment?

a teenager?

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Anonymous Coward

Yawn

Why is anyone surprised ? He's a teenager, and lots of people survive damage to organs they don't use.

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Facepalm

If it was his friend hit by this...

... it would probably have missed his brain by three feet.

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I thought

such niceties as his senses, heart rate, and breathing were controlled by the brainstem ie. quite some inches lower.

Personality changes, maybe...

Jammy though.

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Re: I thought

So glad none of the deluxe options (speech, cognition, personality, etc.) were affected!

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Nevermind the bollocks...

...here comes an spear!

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IT angle?

Not sure about IT angle, but spear angle looks about 20°

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This post has been deleted by its author

WTF?

I'm a bit confused...

The article says the spear went in just above his right eye, and that he would have some trouble with the left side of his body... but the article also says that the spear went through his left hemisphere. Which, as far as I know, is on the left side of the body. Thus "left".

Or was this a magic spear?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm a bit confused...

I suppose it's because he was angling.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm a bit confused...

I was wondering about that too. From the description of the damage it sounded like the spear went at an angle through his head; likely going right between the two hemispheres at least part of the way. But the bit about motor function doesn't work out right.

First, the brain maps all signals to the opposite hemisphere, so the left hemisphere would control the right half of his body. Second, since the motor and tactile sensory areas are in the middle of the brain (from front to back) they would be less likely to be damaged than his personality (prefrontal cortex--front of the brain, above the eyes) or his vision (visual cortex--back of the brain).

Looking at the original ABC article, they said:

"The X-rays of Lopez’s head showed the spear went all the way through his head at an angle and exited the other side but just missed his eye and dodged all major blood vessels in Lopez’s brain. It also traveled through the right hemisphere of his brain, less than one inch above the central brain that controls the senses, heart rate and breathing."

So, it did traverse the right hemisphere of his brain, which may produce issues with the left side of his body or any of the other myriad functions which are implemented over there. Though, from the sounds of it, I'd expect a more temporary loss of functionality until the brain remaps and rebuilds around the damage.

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Re: I'm a bit confused...

Well, imagine I'm your friend, and you're standing to my left while I load my trust spear gun.

what angle is it pointing while I load it? It probably hit above the right eye and went across probably through the center of the brain and then into the left hemsphere.

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Re: I'm a bit confused...

No magic involved the right hemisphere of your brain controls the left side of your body and of course vice versa,basic biology.

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Re: I'm a bit confused...

@John McCallum - yes, but the left hemisphere is usually in the left half of your head. Thus "left" hemisphere. And it controls the right half of the body, you're right - but the article says the boy will have problems with the left side of his body, instead. It sounds as if the article swapped 'right' and 'left' for the brain bit, but not the rest of the description.

@anon and wowfood - it doesn't make a lot of sense that it would enter above the right eye and miss the right hemisphere... I suppose it's possible, but not at such an angle as the spear pokes out the back.

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bep

Ouch

I understand that the first definite indication that different areas of the brain controlled different functions resulted from an even more traumatic injury to a US railway builder in the 19th Century. He was tamping down some dynamite with a three foot crowbar when 'BOOM'. Crowbar went clean through his skull and travelled a considerable distance down-range. He survived but had distinct personality changes (not just a fear of dynamite and crowbars).

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Re: Ouch

Plonkybear posted that man's name in post #1.

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Queue Joke about teenagers not having brains...

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Anonymous Coward

As my wife puts it ...

1 boy one brain.

2 boys half a brain.

3 boys no brain.

Fortunately she's just changing jobs so will now get to deal with adults.

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Anonymous Coward

Queue?

"Your joke is in a queue and will be laughed at as soon as one of our operatives is free. Thank you for jesting."

Me, I cue things up.

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WTF?

Ludicrously lucky teen survives spear through brain

"Ludicrously lucky"? If he was ludicrously lucky his careless pal would have shot himself in the foot. Getting shot in the head is not lucky even if you survive.

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Boffin

A user's brain?

Is there such a thing?

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I would've kept it in

apart from looking harder than anyone else in town so being able to get drinks at the bar without problems think of the IT gadgets you could attach to it!

And the wifi range would be pretty good too!

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Anonymous Coward

Obviously Christian fundamentalist...

Taking literally the "I will make you fishers of men" instruction. (Matthew 4:19)

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