Arrow in the head

The image is a 3D CT scan of someone who was shot in the head with an arrow which penetrated their brainstem.

It’s taken from a recent case study that notes that these injuries have virtually disappeared from the West although are more common in other parts of the world, including from some tribal areas of India, from where this injury occurred.

The case is reported in the Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock and is of a 35-year-old man who was admitted to hospital conscious, in severe pain, with partial facial paralysis, unable to open his jaw, and with an arrow sticking out of the back of his head.

The report notes that the patient made a full recovery although stresses the importance of not pulling out arrows without surgery because they can cause life threatening damage to blood vessels if removed without careful monitoring.

As far as I can tell, this is the only report in the medical literature of an arrow stuck in the brain after being fired in anger, as all the others are either from sporting accidents or suicide attempts.

Link to Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock case study.

2 thoughts on “Arrow in the head”

  1. Reminds me of a car ride to the hospital with my elder brother, then aged 8, supporting a yard long arrow with its metal tip embedded in his temple: kids´ play… permanent damage either – makes one wonder just how lethal arrow wounds are – one sees people dying instantly on films from them, but the reality must be much grimmer and take a lot longer.

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