2012: A Florida teenager was accidentally shot in the head with a fishing spear while on an excursion with his friends. The spear pierced his skull of Yasir Lopez after being loaded into the gun improperly. Doctors worked quickly to remove the spear, and the boy never lost consciousness, though he is now suffering from amnesia. MSNBC reports:
Dr. George Garcia, who helped to save Lopez's life, said that Lopez was awake and interacting with hospital staff when he arrived, though he became agitated and panicky. “We didn't know if that was a result of the injury to his brain or if he was just scared or in a lot of pain.” Dr. Garcia said that that the fact that Lopez was lucid throughout gave the doctors confidence the teenager would survive.
Calling Lopez a “pretty incredible, very lucky boy,” Dr. Garcia said, “I expected he would do well because he was awake from the injury...The fact that he was speaking to the paramedics in route and stuff made me hopeful from the beginning.”
1848: Phineas Gage, a railroad construction foreman in Vermont, shocked onlookers and doctors when he continued walking and talking after an iron rod passed through his head during a demolition job. Gage spent the remaining twelve years of his life being studied in medical laboratories and visiting fairs and circuses with the fateful rod, sometimes in the company of P.T. Barnum. John Harlow, Gage’s primary physician, described Gage after the accident:
He has no pain in the head, but says he has a queer feeling which he is not able to describe. His contractors, who regarded him as the most efficient and capable foreman in their employ previous to his injury, considered the change in his mind so marked that they could not give him his place again. The equilibrium or balance, so to speak, between his intellectual faculties and animal propensities, seems to have been destroyed. He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint of advice when it conflicts with his desires, at times pertinaciously obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many plans of future operation, which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned in turn for others appearing more feasible. Previous to his injury, although untrained in the schools, he possessed a well-balanced mind, and was looked upon by those who knew him as a shrewd, smart business man, very energetic and persistent in executing all his plans of operation. In this regard, his mind was radically changed, so decidedly that his friends and acquaintances said he was “no longer Gage.”
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