US teen survives spear shot to the head

The X-ray depicting the freak accident that nearly killed teenager Nasser Lopez is shocking.

It shows a spear - accidentally fired by a friend - protruding end-to-end through the 16-year-old's skull.

Nasser survived the June 8 accident, which occurred as the teen swam in a lake near his southwest Miami-Dade home in the US with a 15-year-old friend.

The friend was loading a speargun when he touched the trigger, sending the nearly 1m-long spear zooming towards Nasser, AP reported.

On Monday, doctors from the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital (JMH) and the Army Trauma Training Center staff members who helped treat the teen, revealed at a news conference the unbelievable X-ray.

The bottom line: Nasser is lucky to be alive and recovering, they said.

"It's a miracle the spear missed all the main blood vessels of the brain," said neurosurgeon Ross Bullock.

Still serious

Still serious

Nasser remains in serious condition. The spear entered his head about 2.5cm above his right eye and exited the back of his head, doctors said.

When he arrived at JMH via helicopter, doctors said the main thing was to fight their urge to quickly yank out the spear from Nasser's head.

Instead, they used a rebar cutter and vise grips from the fire department to stabilise the spear and eventually figured out how to remove it.

Nasser underwent three hours of surgery to remove the spear, which entered the right side of his brain.

Doctors said he had no recollection of the accident.

He is expected to remain hospitalised for several more months when the extent of his injuries will become clearer.


This article was first published in The New Paper.