7 Fatal Injuries (That People Somehow Survived)
The human body is a miracle; though you may disagree if you're sitting there in the throes of an allergy attack or a hangover.
The truth is your body can take a lot of abuse, and we've all heard amazing stories of people living through hacked off limbs, extreme temperatures and even falling out of airplanes. So how much punishment can the human body take? Well, under certain circumstances you can apparently survive...
Getting Cut... In Half
When you work on the railroad, you probably know that something terrible can happen. Maybe you'll break a bone, or lose a limb. Or maybe you'll lose the entire lower half of your freaking body
That's what happened to Truman Duncan, who, after falling off of a moving train, was dragged underneath the wheels. They severed his body in half at the waist, incredibly leaving him alive and conscious to hear the machinery grinding his body in two as he was dragged 75 feet.
Truman decided that screaming like a little girl was neither manly nor helpful and instead pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911 from right there under the train. Then, because it took rescuers 45 minutes to get him out from under the train, he placed a few calls to his family as well.
Jesus, how do you start that conversation?
Doctors are unsure how he managed to survive the accident but suspect that the weight of the wheels may have kept him from bleeding to death (though not very well--he lost about half the blood in his body). It may also have been due to his Kryptonian ancestry, but we're just speculating. Still, it took 23 surgeries over four months before Truman could leave the hospital, minus his legs, pelvis and a kidney.
Today, Truman is back at work at a desk job. He says he can still do the things he did before the accident like swimming, playing with his kids and screaming, "Fuck you!" at every train he passes.
Getting Shot... And Shot... And Shot
Despite what the NRA would have you believe, guns do kill people. Just not all people.
After all, we've seen Bruce Willis get shot like five or six times in four movies, so clearly you can shrug off a couple of slugs. Rapper 50 Center got shot nine times and lived to rap another day. So how many shots can a man take before we declare him to be either a superhero or a zombie?
How about 19?
New Yorker, Joseph Guzman, took that many slugs and walked away (alright, he didn't exactly walk). Joseph's problems began back in 2006 when he was out at a bachelor party with some friends.
According to Joseph, his friends had left the party reading quotes from the bible to each other and were on their way to assist the homeless. According to the police, the group was shooting off flamethrowers and wheeling a giant cannon down the street toward an orphanage. The truth is probably somewhere in between.
One way or another, the cops started shooting. And once you get started with the shooting, well, it's kind of hard to stop. Fifty rounds were fired at Joseph. Thirty-one of them missed, but the police probably figured that the ones that hit home were more than enough to do the job.
"Another one? Anderson, are you throwing the bullets
back in here just to fuck with me?"
Joseph was rushed to the hospital where doctors discovered the 19 bullet-holes in his body. The attending physician later testified that Joseph was "probably in severe pain." Dr. Obvious likely went on to say that the red stuff pouring out of Joseph's body was "probably blood."
After they determined that he was indeed bleeding, the doctors found seven bullets still inside him. He had been hit in the legs, chest, abdomen and one bullet shattered his cheekbone. A liter and a half of blood was drained from his chest and then he was given a tetanus shot, which is something we wish we could take credit for making up.
By the way, not only did he survive the shooting, Joseph was still strong enough to be described as "combative" when he was wheeled into the hospital, possibly due to the doctor asking him if he was in any pain. Today, Joseph walks with a limp and a cane, but fortunately shows no signs of tetanus.
Getting Shot... By A Rocket Propelled Grenade
If you've watch news coverage of a war--or seen a war movie--over the last couple of decades you probably saw the bad guys using the above Rocket Propelled Grenades, which is a kind of shoulder-fired missile about the size of the head of a baseball bat.
They're designed to take out tanks and jeeps and other things made of metal. You can imagine what happens when one of them hits a human being, unless that human being is living in the video game universe or is named Channing Moss.
We believe that's an "I survived a bazooka to the torso" awareness wristband
Moss was in the army busy putting his boots far up Taliban asses, when his convoy was caught in an ambush. In addition to the machine gun fire, the enemy also unleashed several of the ever-popular RPGs at the Humvee he was riding in. Moss felt something hit him in the side and when he looked down saw that he had a fucking smoking rocket jutting out from his body.
Because there was a policy against evacuating people with bombs inside them, due to the whole explosion problem, his commanding officer told the helicopter crew the RPG was just some shrapnel.
When the doctors at the field hospital found out he had a whole, working rocket inside him, there was the usual panic and screaming until someone finally calmed down enough to try and save his life. This was despite the fact that the army manual called for him to be dumped far away from everyone and treated last. Seriously, nothing makes you more unpopular to a group than having a live bomb inside you.
Upon closer inspection it turned out Channing had a bit of luck on his side, in that the exploding warhead part of the rocket was not in his body, just the rocket and detonator. So instead of the big exploding part, there was only the little exploding part left inside of him. A note on his file also states that the rocket propellant was "mostly expelled."
Doctors finally sawed the fins off the rocket and then pulled the tube out of him, along with the wads of clothing and equipment that had been crammed into his guts by the impact. Incredibly, the huge projectile missed his vital organs and Channing lived.
We mentioned Bruce Willis earlier; what's great about Channing's story is if in Die Hard 5 you saw John McClane take a missile to the abdomen and walk away good as new, you'd be screaming bullshit so loud they'd have to drag you out of the theater.
A Gaping Hole... In Your Brain
Come on, you knew we couldn't leave this one out.
Number one on the list of things you don't want blasting a hole through your skull and brain is a giant cannon ball. However, a very close second on this list is a large metal spike. Just ask Phineas Gage.
Gage worked on a railroad crew back in the old-timey days. Part of his job was to blast holes in rocks with dynamite. Because this wasn't considered dangerous enough, the procedure also called for packing dirt in the holes with a metal pole after the dynamite was inserted, maybe to get the dynamite good and angry or something. The pole was called a "tamping iron" because calling it a "pointy suicide stick," while more accurate, tended to scare the employees.
"Nothing can ever go wrong with this."
Probably to no one's surprise, one day this practice of smacking a metal bar against live dynamite caused an explosion. This resulted in the tamping iron, which was three-feet, eight-inches long and weighed about 13 pounds, being shot through Phineas's cheekbone and exiting through the top of his skull.
Looks bad but you probably don't feel much after the first 12 inches
Sometimes people get impaled by objects but miss the vital organs. Phineas was not this lucky, unless you consider the brain to not be a vital organ. When they found the tamping iron 30 yards away it had pieces of bone and brain stuck to it.
Because medical science was about on par with the science of blasting holes through rock at the time, the only treatment Phineas received was having the huge tunnel through his brain cleaned out and wrapped in bandages, with the occasional draining of pus. Amazingly, five months after the accident Phineas was back to leading a fairly normal life, except for the giant hole in his head and probably a lot of new hats.
His friends and family also reported that he was kind of a dick after the accident, and scientists have come up with all kinds of theories about the damage affecting his impulse control. But, holy crap, some of us turn into dicks after missing morning coffee. Can we not cut a guy some slack after surviving a fucking spike through the skull?
Getting Punctured with a Dozen Nails... In Your Brain
Alright, so how does a guy top the whole "spike in the brain" thing? Two spikes?
How about 12?
Back in 2006, a guy in Oregon got really depressed, probably because he realized he lived in Oregon. He decided it was time to end his life and after ruling out faster, better, more proven alternatives, he decided he would end it all by shooting himself in the head with a nailgun (we've all been there, right?). We're going to go out on a limb and assume that he was probably a bit disappointed when the first nail pierced his skull and he found himself still alive and in Oregon.
He was serious about ending it all though and kept pulling the trigger on the nail gun like a guy waiting for an elevator. By the time he was done, he had a dozen nails embedded in his head. It's unclear why he stopped but a good guess is because it really hurts to shoot nails into your skull.
"Eh, a gun is a gun, right?"
He finally went to the hospital and complained to the doctors that he had a headache. While this was technically true it's kind of like telling someone your buddy is a bit of a douche bag and then the guy turns out to be Spencer Pratt.
The nails had gone so far into his brain that the doctors couldn't even see them until they X-rayed his head. Not only did they find 12 nails, but the nails were fired into both sides of his head--which meant he had to switch hands at some point (apparently nailguns get pretty heavy after a while). Doctors had to remove the nails with needle-nosed pliers and a drill. Yeah, the whole scenario was pretty much sponsored by Home Depot.
The tale probably involved caulk at some point as well
We'd like to say he is doing fine today, but last we heard he left the pysch ward against his doctor's wishes. Damn, we were so sure the 12 nails to the head story would have a happy ending.
Getting Stuck Under Water... For an Hour
Your body has some pretty basic needs: food, water, air, some basic broadband Internet access. Of these the most important is without a doubt air. While you can go for weeks without food and days without water, most people get a serious case of death if they go for more than 15 minutes without breathing. Even guys who spend all their time training to hold their breath only last about 11.5 minutes and they need two months to recover afterward to ponder whether they need a different hobby.
This is why Michelle Funk caused the Journal of the American Medical Association to use the word "miraculous" when she was pulled out of the water after she staying under for more than an hour. A medical journal using the word "miracle" is the equivalent of "WTF?" in non-medical speak. If her awesome last name and amazing mutant half-fish abilities weren't impressive enough, consider she was only two-years-old when this happened.
"What the fuck?"
This was back in 1986, she had been playing near the creek when she fell in and by the time they found her an hour later, she had a core body temperature of 66 degrees and no heartbeat, both of which is supposed to mean "dead" according to everything science thinks it knows about the body.
Doctors warmed Michelle's blood with a heart-lung machine (it actually removes the blood from the body to do it, which to the untrained eye would also seem like something you wouldn't live through). We assume that Michelle's blood was the consistency of a Slushie when it first came out.
It took more than three hours before doctors were finally able to detect a heartbeat. No one is really sure how she survived, although one of the doctors thinks the cold water helped to freeze her so that her brain didn't suffer any permanent damage. This basically means she survived drowning to death by freezing to death first.
Michelle has fully recovered and is living somewhere in Utah, pretty much a living "fuck you" to the world of medical science.
"Screw it, we're going with 'miracle.'"
Dislocation... Of Your Head
Alright, so we've confirmed that you can survive a whole range of foreign objects in your skull. How can we top that? Well...
The word "decapitation" is one you never want to hear in your prognosis. It usually signals something really bad has happened to you, like a teen horror movie, or a French revolution. Shannon Malloy, however, was past her teens and nowhere near France when she was in a car crash a few years back, but still had the word "decapitation" turn up in her medical charts. OK, so her head didn't go rolling away like a bowling ball, but it was pretty close.
When she was brought to the hospital after her accident, doctors discovered that she had severed every single ligament and tendon connecting her skull to her spinal cord. Her head was basically flopping around, connected to her body only by skin and muscle tissue (they call it an "internal decapitation"). The spinal surgeon who treated her said he had never seen anyone survive such an injury, because the head is a fairly important part of your body.
Yet her child remains unimpressed
However there was some good news for Shannon. Her spinal cord itself was actually still in good shape. Doctors worked hard to set her skull back on to her spine which is apparently no easy task as she told people she felt her skull slip off about five times during the procedure. We don't know what is worse, the fact it took them five tries to get it right or the fact that she was awake while they tried.
Actual photo of the surgery
Doctor Butter Fingers finally managed to get her skull in place though and they screwed everything in good and tight. Eventually she recovered from the ordeal and even avoided being paralyzed. She has suffered from some sight and speech impairment, but really what can you ask for considering, you know, decapitation.Son Tran can also teach you about Babies, at his Cracked Topics Page.
For more people who laughed at death, check out 7 People Who Cheated Death (Then Kicked It In The Balls). Or find out about some straight bizarre ways people have died, in 5 Historical Figures Who Died The Weirdest Deaths.
And stop by Cracked.com's Top Picks to see what being boobed to death looks like.