In what can be described as nothing less than a lucky escape or a miracle, a 41yr old construction worker in China survived, after a 5ft steel rod got lodged in his head while he was at work. Doctors managed to remove the rod and saved the man known as Wang Long after a four-hour-long surgical operation. The accident occurred in Chongqing on February 27 when the worker tried to loosen up a concrete slab while at work.
He was rushed to the city's Southwest Hospital and Liu Minghua, the assistant chief at the Accidents
and Emergency Department, called his team to plan an operation. A CT scan was needed but the metal rod was too long to pass through the machine so the fire department was called in. The firemen first tried to use a hydraulic cutter, but the metal rod was too thick to cut through. Then the doctors suggested the firefighters get an acetylene cutting torch.
The firefighters feared the metal could heat up too quickly and end up hurting Wang's neck. To resolve the issue, medical workers used ice packs and ice water to cool down the rod as the others cut it down.
The rod was eventually shortened to 21 inches. Dr Liu said the steel rod had caused compression on Wang's airway and the man needed an emergency operation to have the rod removed. Professor Xiang Qiang and assistant professor Chen Xiangyu, both of whom were involved in the operation, told the reporters that the rod had made it difficult for them to put an oxygen mask or a breathing tube on Wang.
As a result, they had to tilt and held his head midair until the surgery was over. Doctors said the rod had gone into Wang's fourth cervical vertebra as well as his thyroid cartilage area and poked out from his lower occipital bone.
'There is a hole in Wang's internal jugular vein and the rod has spiked his maxillary artery. We did a 3,000ml blood transfusion in the four-hour-long surgery,' explained Professor Xiang.
He said the patient could have died if the rod had been lodged 0.8 inches (two centimetres) higher, which means it would have pierced through his head. Wang has passed the critical stage and the man is now in recovery, said the report.