Bullet in the brain

On 1 August this year, a story appeared in the Guardian concerning a man who turned up at King’s College hospital, south London, complaining that he’d been shot in the head.

To the shock and amazement of the triage nurses, this man explained that he had just been shot in the head and had caught a bus to the hospital. He was rushed into theatre where the surgeons who operated upon him duly removed a bullet from his brain.

This incident actually happened in 2003, but was in the news this month due to the case having at long last come to the courts.

Coincidences are always intriguing. I’m not one to claim any great significance attaches to them. Given the sheer number of things that happen every day, the strangest thing would be if there were never any coincidences. The coincidence here, for me, was that the very day this story appeared, I had just finished reading a classic detective novel in which the plot spring is that the murder victim continues to live for some minutes after being shot, long enough to get himself away from the scene of the shooting and attempt to rig up revenge against the man who shot him. I won’t mention the name of the novel so as not to spoil it for anyone who might be reading it in the future.

The author, who was writing c. 1940, includes a note at the end of the book to state that it is medically possible to survive for a while with a bullet in the brain, and to cite a few pieces of medical case history to illustrate it. What was strange for me was to find by chance a modern example in the newspaper the very same day.

You must be logged in to post a comment.