PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla – A Florida man wakes up in the middle of the night with what he thinks is a terrible headache or an aneurysm, only to discover that he has a bullet lodged in his head. Now his wife is being charged with attempted murder (click here to read the report).
But how does someone get shot at close range while sleeping and not know it? One doctor said this is an extraordinary case and that most people who get shot will realize it immediately.
“It’s highly unusual,” said Dr. Joseph Feldman, chairman of the Emergency Trauma Department at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. “Maybe he was drunk. We do see cases of ‘Saturday night palsy,’ which is kind of like falling asleep on your arm and waking up with pins and needles. Only, in the case of someone who is drunk, they [pass out] and don’t wake up or move for long periods of time and end up giving themselves a serious two-day nerve injury.”
Moylan is not the first person to be shot or impaled and not realize it.
Last month a 77-year-old woman in China went to a hospital with a headache and was found to have had a bullet in her head for 64 years, according to the Yangtse Evening Post.
In April the Chicago Tribune reported that 17-year-old boy was shot in the back on his way to track practice and didn't know it. Cameron Kelly, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound shot-putter, discus-thrower and runner realized he was injured when he arrived in his high school locker room and was told by a classmate that his shirt was covered in blood. It is believed Kelly had walked some 60 blocks with the bullet in him.
And when a ricocheting bullet fired by John Hinkley in March of 1981 hit President Reagan, he was said not to have realized he had been shot until after the commotion died down.
Reagan’s case is much more common, said Feldman.
“We have had people come in (to the emergency room) with objects impaled in them and they didn’t realize it because it was so quick and the object was so sharp, they think that maybe they just were slapped in the back by something or that it was a muscle spasm,” he said.
“It's a more common occurrence when it’s a distracting injury, where you’re in a car accident and you’re shot and you don’t realize it because you’re concentrating on the accident and your adrenaline is going, so you’re not cognizant of the situation until you look down and see blood.”