Medical advancements have made the recovery from some injuries and disease possible when once thought impossible. There are devices that can help the heart pump and products that can literally replace our bones. But there is one organ in our body that is so complex, when damaged the results are often irreparable. That organ is our brain, the control center of our thoughts, our memories and every action that keeps us alive.
Sadly, one of the most common injuries in many accidents is brain injuries. Medical scientists, researchers and inventors are constantly working together to figure out how to repair costly damage and understand the effects of injuries. When the brain is severely damaged, the victim's injuries often turn fatal. The case of one of the rarest brain injury survivors -- a man who had a four foot long, 1.25 inch diameter metal iron shoot through his frontal lobe -- is being revisited once again by California researchers to help understand the brain.
The man's injury occurred over 150 years ago when the brain was less understood. He was working when an explosion sent the tamping iron right at him. It went through his left cheek, through his brain and out the top of his head. The shocking part, he got up and began walking. Only days later, he seemed completely normal.
While everything seemed alright, his family began noticing changes in his personality. He lost his gentle nature and became "fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity," according to a family member.
It is these effects that the researchers from the University of California set out to study. The man lost most of his left lobe, the control center for much of our personality, damage to which can cause schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer's.
Brain damage is costly in so many ways. Even a victim who survives with seemingly no permanent damage can have symptoms arise later in life that completely change the essence of who they are. When a person suffers this pain at the hands of a negligent party, they deserve every ounce of compensation the law will allow.
Source: Minn Post, "One of history's most famous head injures gets examined -- again," Susan Perry, June 1, 2012