Bruno Barcellos de Souza Coutinho, 34, of Petrópolis, Brazil made a near-fatal error when he decided to clean a loaded speargun. The fisherman accidentally triggered the device, launching a 12-inch spear deep into his face. According to the NY Daily News, the spear penetrated over six inches into Coutinho’s head and became lodged in his brain.
Miraculously, Coutinho survived the incident and did not seem to suffer brain damage. For the 10 hours that the spear remained inside his skull, doctors and emergency personnel rushed to save his life. After being transported to a nearby hospital, the fisherman received multiple surgery procedures to remove the projectile from the delicate tissue around his brain. It took over 4 hours.
A glance at the images taken by doctors will show that the spear had nearly traveled the entire width of Coutinho’s skull before coming to a stop. The fact that he survived is nothing less than extraordinary. Doctors say that the patient is not at risk of death and have since been moved to the intensive care unit. Coutinho is expected to suffer minimal neurological damage and a loss of sight in his left eye, where the spear entered.
A similar accident happened last year when a Florida teen was shot in the head with a speargun. The LA Times reports that because the human brain is such a resilient organ, it can compensate for damaged areas by utilizing other parts of the brain. However, significant psychological changes can occur and recovery often depends on the specific damage incurred, rehabilitation efforts and oftentimes the victim’s own willpower.