If you've taken so much as one psychology course, you've probably heard of Phineas Gage, the man who survived having a railroad tie driven through his skull. It sounds like a one-of-a-kind thing, but a Brazilian construction worker just survived a similar injury.
Eduardo Leite, the 24-year-old construction worker with a hell of a lot of luck, fell off the fifth floor of a building under construction and landed on a six foot iron bar that pierced both his hard hat and the back of his skull, popping out right between his eyes. Even after getting the new hole in his head, Leite remained conscious and lucid, eventually telling doctors what had happened to him.
The bar was carefully removed with a grueling 5-hour surgery. Luiz Alexandre Essinger, chief of staff at the hospital where Leite was treated, told the AP:
"He was taken to the operating room, his skull was opened, they examined the brain and the surgeon decided to pull the metal bar out from the front in the same direction it entered the brain. ...Today, he continues well, with few complaints for a five-hour-long surgery. He says he feels little pain."
The damaged part of Leite's brain clearly isn't required to stay alive, but its specific function isn't know. Leite is likely to remain at the hospital for up to two weeks following the surgery, and exactly what's happened to his brain probably won't be clear until he starts getting back to "normal" life. Whatever the damage may be, he's damn lucky to be alive. [The Guardian]