brothercyst: for those not easily sickened

Sunday, March 04, 2007

for those not easily sickened

I saw a picture a long time ago that I consider one of the most disturbing images of gore/physical damage that I've ever seen.


Here is the picture.

But I saw it again today, and I began to wonder if it might be fake. The eyes made me wonder about this. One of them appears to be essentially undamaged. You would think it would be somehow dislocated or at least bloodshot. Its clarity is one of the most disturbing things about the image--he's clearly still alive--but might it indicate some sick photoshop work?

In case you're curious, the injuries were allegedly the result of motorcycle accident.


Also, I spent this evening walking and playing with pit bulls. More about that later.


Ian said...

I think it's probably real. When somebody is on a motorcycle without a helmet, they can quite easily rear-end a car and wind up plowing jaw-first into the car's rear. Faces explode surprisingly easily. And after all, we don't call them "donorcycles" for nothing.

We had a patient the other day who fell down. Oh, and her eye fell out. Yes, that's right--she simply fell down, and her eye fell out. She ended up with us on neurosurgery because she avulsed her ophthalmic artery and had an intracranial hemorrhage, but the ophthalmologists had to put in a prosthetic eye. Her admission head CT was pretty remarkable, because you could scroll down and notice, huh, there's no eye in that orbit. Then as you keep scrolling down you realize, oh, wait, there it is on her cheek. Pretty nasty.

NickAntosca said...

Talking to you always makes me think of the Denis Johnson story with the knife in the eye.

So, Ian, you think the guy in the picture died not long after it was taken?

Ian said...

I still need to read Denis Johnson.

Whether or not the guy survived would likely just be dependent upon the status of his airway. Having made it this far, I'm sure that he could have had an emergency tracheostomy performed,which would get him through the initial post-trauma resuscitation. Following several rather extensive reconstructive surgeries, a guy like this can walk out of the hospital with an almost-normal looking face. I've seen similar things happen.

When I was still in school we had a guy on the neurosurgery service who had tried to kill himself by holding a shotgun up to his chin. In case you're wondering, that's a really stupid way to kill yourself (better to aim backwards and take out the brainstem, or to shoot from one side to the other so that the bullet traverses the ventricles, either of which has about a 100% mortality rate). In any case the guy languished in the ICU for about a month with this gigantic gaping trough of flesh where his face used to be. It just kept rotting until he got septic and finally succumbed.

I guess the point of relating all that was that we see some pretty sick shit in the world of medicine. Most of the time people do amazingly well (notwithstanding the story I just told). One of the best predictors of survival likelihood is the T/T ratio. That is, the number of teeth divided by the number of tattoos. As this ratio approaches zero, the patient's likelihood of survival approaches 100%. A similar but converse rule is that when a patient has a brain tumor, the nicer the patient is the more likely the tumor is to be highly malignant. That's maybe part of the reason many neurosurgeons cultivate a bit of assholery in their own personalities: they don't want to develop a glioblastoma.

NickAntosca said...

God, I love that I know you.

I have a book idea that will involve lots of violence and physical damage; I may need to consult you. This won't be for many months at the soonest.