Mind and Body

Man Lives With Bullet Lodged in Brain for 23 Years

  • This X-ray shows the bullet lodged in the patient's head. It had been there since 1988.

    This X-ray shows the bullet lodged in the patient's head. It had been there since 1988.

  • Wang's convulsions stopped once the bullet was removed from his head.

    Wang's convulsions stopped once the bullet was removed from his head.

  • The bullet entered his brain near the left ear.

    The bullet entered his brain near the left ear.

A farmer from central China, who went to the hospital last month because he was tired of dealing with convulsions, shocked doctors when they discovered a bullet lodged in his brain.

Wang Tianqing was suffering from symptoms that had grown progressively worse over two decades, but when he finally visited the doctor, the cause came as a surprise.

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CT scans showed a bullet inside his head that had been there for 23 years.

"The bullet penetrated his skull and then stopped near his temple," said neurosurgeon Wang Zhiming. "If it had moved a bit further backward and to the right, he wouldn't have survived."

But what puzzled Wang's doctors was exactly how the bullet got there, until he recalled an incident back in 1988.

"I thought I'd been hit by a slingshot," he said. "I saw a man standing on a hill, and thought he'd hit me."

He woke up in hospital, where the medical staff could find nothing wrong.

They gave him an anti-inflammatory and sent him home, but shortly afterwards he began having occasional convulsions.

When they worsened last year, Wang's family decided it was time to get a second opinion.

The bullet was successfully removed, and as a result, the convulsions have stopped.