20-inch Steel Pole Penetrates Chinese Woman’s Skull

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ANQING, China  —- “Headache” — A female construction worker from eastern China is lucky to be alive after an accident on the job left a large metal bar buried deep inside her skull.

Cheng Fenghua, 48, from Anqing, is listed in serious but stable condition after undergoing emergency surgery to remove a bar that had penetrated 8 cm into her skull, narrowly missing her brain stem.

An eyewitness at the construction site said he saw the long black bar falling from the three-story building, then heard a piercing a scream.

‘When I looked closely I was shocked as a long steel bar was buried in Cheng’s head,’ he said.

Fellow construction workers called emergency services while others used their tools to cut the 13-foot bar down to 20 inches.

“When she was admitted, she was of sound mind. She could not speak and she was covered in blood. The metal rod was still protruding 20 inches from her head “said Dr. Yang Youzhong, neurosurgeon of Anqing City Hospital.

“It’s really a miracle that she survived, although a rod had pierced her head.”

X-rays revealed the bar was buried 8cm into Cheng’s skull, stopping just short of the brain stem which controls a person’s breathing and heartbeat.
“Just a little further and she would have died immediately,” says Dr. Yang.

The operation to remove the bar lasted only 40 minutes as doctors removed the bar slowly to prevent a severe brain hemorrhage.

Cheng is currently under 24-hour observation because of the high risk of a stroke or hemorrhage. Doctors are optimistic about her recovery but said she is not out of the woods yet. Dirt and bacteria from the bar could have created irreversible damage to the brain.

“Even if completely recovered, Cheng may still experience mobility problems,” Dr. Youzhong said.

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