When the bus wheel came down on his head, it shattered his C1 vertebra in three parts -- that is, it smashed the neck bone that's in charge of supporting the skull and shielding the spinal cord. "The X-ray of my neck that night -- it's the most shocking thing from my accident," Augusto says, "It shows my vertebra in pieces."
How shocking? Well, the first person on the scene happened to work for the Brazilian health department. He later told Augusto that the accident was so horrific, he literally decided to quit his job the next day. That's right -- the injury was so gruesome that it inflicted traumatic splash damage on bystanders.
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"Remember when Mr. Potato Head put all his parts into a tortilla in Toy Story 3? It was like that."
The paramedics got Augusto to the hospital, and he was relatively stable until a blood clot in his brain began to grow. And grow. And grow. His left eye looked ready to pop. The only thing doctors at the severely under-resourced hospital could do was take an honest-to-God jackhammer to his head and remove a chunk of skull for his brain to decompress. The intensive care unit at the public hospital didn't have room for him, so he was transferred to one that did ... and they forgot to fit him with a neck brace for the ambulance ride over.
They forgot to put a brace on the guy whose neck bones were in shards, and whose spinal cord was completely unprotected. A speed bump could have killed him. But it didn't, and Augusto's strange journey began ...