Last week, a man from Yemen finally found relief after living with a 3-centimeter bullet lodged in his head for nearly 18 years. The surgery to remove the metal projectile was successfully performed at a private hospital in Bengaluru.
The man is 29 years old and a father of two. Due to the accident, he suffered a severe injury, which rendered him deaf. He had been suffering from recurrent headaches and discharge from the ear as his left temporal bone was severely damaged by the bullet. He belonged to a farmer family, where his father was a farmer and his mother was a housewife. He grew up with nine siblings—six brothers and three sisters—in a village in Yemen. As his father was a farmer, they had a farm near home where they would grow carrots, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and other crops.
As an active child, he would frequently help his father tend the plants. He also used to help him by watering the plants. He did errands as well. But when he was around 10 years old, something went wrong in his life. When he was returning home from a shop, he became entangled in fighting between two clashing groups.
On a video call with the Times of India, the man said that he was severely injured and bled profusely. He rushed to the hospital, where his wound was only cleaned up, but the bullet wasn't removed.
The ear's entrance narrowed as the bullet pierced through it, causing discharges. The bullet's inner end was stuck in the bone, leaving part of the bullet visible in the ear tube. It resulted in a wound that will not heal. Pus accumulation resulted in periodic ear infections, which later caused headaches.
Dr. Rohit Udaya Prasad, lead consultant for ENT and cochlear implant surgery at Aster RV, said, “The bullet was lodged inside his ear, deep inside the temporal bone in the left side and very close to the vital vascular structures, which made surgery challenging. Because of the proximity of the surgical site to the vital vascular structures, the patient was at risk of major bleeding when the bullet was removed."
The surgical team decided to perform a contrast CT angiography to determine the position of the blood arteries with respect to the bullet as an alternative to an MRI. Doctors used a basic two-dimensional X-ray, with which they found out the exact location of the bullet.
The successful surgery at a Bengaluru hospital not only removed the bullet but also alleviated his pain, partially restored his hearing, and stopped his ear discharge. He flew back to Yemen after the surgery, leaving behind the bullet, to avoid detention at the airport. He is now pursuing his degree in English and French.
(Input from various media sources)