From the Annals of the Incredible in Medical Science, a teenage boy from Spain went about his daily routine for a month before realizing that he had a shard of glass embedded in his face.
A 14-year-old boy visited the emergency department (ED) at the Virgen del Rocio University Hospital in Seville with a 1-month history of progressive difficulty opening his jaw and moderate pain when chewing,” began the case report, dated April 19, 2019.
The youth said he had accidentally crashed into a glass window after fainting. He had received treatment at the local hospital and a 1-cm wound had been sewn up on his left cheek.
A month later, the patient revisited the ED, reporting pain when he moved his jaw, as when chewing or opened his mouth, especially on the left side. His face wasn’t paralyzed and he could feel normal. Palpation (pressing with the hands) of his mouth cavity revealed nothing amiss.
Then, doctors took a closer look at the panoramic radiograph that was initially obtained in the ED. These images revealed a faint but well-defined rectangular shape of approximately 3.5 cm in length hidden behind the cheekbone of the boy’s left upper jawbone.
A computed tomography (CT) scan was ordered to get a better view of the shadowy shape. It showed a “foreign body…compatible with a piece of glass measuring 3.5 cm maximum length x 1 cm wide, which had the shape of a knife blade.”
The knife-shaped glass shard was lodged in the left deep temporal lobe of the boy’s brain! Fortunately, surgical forceps were able to extract the foreign object by going through the patient’s mouth, from the inside, under direct vision, to access the underside of the injured cheek.
The removal surgery had no complications and the patient recovered normally. He regains full movement of his jaws and, six months after the operation, had no further complaints.
There are other cases reported of people who didn’t know they were gravely injured and continued their normal routines.
In 2007, “sports-mad” 14-year-old Alfie Tyson-Brown from Wimborne, Dorset, in the UK, fell off his bicycle after a strange feeling overcame him.
The British teen had led an active life included playing soccer and surfing despite warning signs that something might be seriously wrong with him:
“I sometimes felt like I didn’t have full control over my limbs, but I just got on with life and didn’t think about it.”
After his bike mishap, doctors discovered a neck bone Alfie had broken when he was a toddler. The condition could have caused a stroke or paralysis at any time – but didn’t.
Alfie was immediately strapped to a bed to keep him still and rushed to surgery. His physician, Dr. Evan Davies from Poole Hospital, said this was a career first:
“In all my years as a spinal surgeon, I have never seen anything quite like this. If he had received an injury to his neck the way it was, then he may well have died.”
Father Chris Brown said of his son:
“Alfie is the luckiest boy alive. Apparently, his spinal cord was doing a U-bend when it should have been straight. With all the sport and activities he has done over the years, it is nothing short of a miracle that he is still alive.”
Even more incredible is the tale of Olivier Faure, a 21-year-old man from a village called Laragne, about six miles from Paris, France, who was hit by a car and knocked off his moped in 1999. In shock and with adrenaline coursing through his veins, the victim arose as the driver sped off.
A dazed and wobbly Faure set out on foot to make his way home. A passing motorist gave him a lift for the rest of the way.
It was only at home when the victim’s mother was helping him take off his coat, that young Faure realized that his entire left arm below the elbow was gone.
Police in the town of Gap dispatched emergency personnel who found the missing limb by the side of the road. “It was packed in ice and flown by helicopter along with the victim to a hospital, where it was sewn back on.”
The reattachment surgery went off without a hitch and Faure is expected to make a full recovery.
The Annals of the Incredible in Medical Science are full of similar stories – suggesting that some people are just born lucky.