Modern Day Phineas Gage


Phineas P. Gage (July 9?, 1823 – May 21?, 1860) was a railroad worker remembered for his incredible survival of a traumatic brain injury which destroyed one or both of his frontal lobes, and for the injury’s reported effects on his personality and social functioning—effects said to be so profound that friends said he was “no longer Gage.” His case played a role in the development of the understanding of the localization of brain function, and was among the first to suggest that damage to the frontal lobes can affect personality and behavior.

Street Anatomy reports on a modern day equivalent:

According to a case report in the European Journal of Neurosurgery, a 49 year-old Native American male presented to the emergency room complaining of soreness in the left cheek and eye area after being hit in the face 6 hours earlier by an assailant.

A physical examination only showed a 5m cut below his left eye with some periorbital edema, but a CT scan showed a cylindrical foreign body coursing from the left orbit to the right thalamus.

Under general anesthesia an incision was made near the man’s eyelid. The surgeon searched around and then carefully pulled out the proximal end of what appeared to be a wooden object.

The wooden object turned out to be a 10.5cm–long paintbrush, shoved in bristles first!

Amazingly the patient was discharged neurologically and ophthamologically intact.

The pictures are even more impressive:

Our body’s resilience never ceases to amaze.


8 Responses to “Modern Day Phineas Gage”

  1. 1 emma September 10, 2008 at 6:44 am

    SOOOOOOOOO weird!!! a paint brush? looks like they had some issues!

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    ummmm ya it kinda was stupid!!!!

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