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Brazilian worker survives iron bar piercing skull

Friday, August 17, 2012 | 4:24 PM    

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A 24-year-old construction worker survived after a 6-foot metal bar fell from above and pierced his head.

Luiz Alexandre Essinger, chief of staff at Rio de Janeiro's Miguel Couto Hospital, said doctors successfully withdrew the iron bar from Eduardo Leite's skull during a five-hour surgery.

"He was taken to the operating room, his skull was opened, they examined the brain and the surgeon decided to pull the metal bar out from the front in the same direction it entered the brain." Essinger said.

He said Leite was conscious when he arrived at the hospital and told him what had happened.

He said Leite was lucid and showed no negative consequences after the operation.

"Today, he continues well, with few complaints for a five-hour-long surgery," Essinger said. "He says he feels little pain."

The bar fell from the fifth floor of a building under construction, went through Leite's hard hat, entered the back of his skull and exited between his eyes, Essinger said, adding: "It really was a miracle" that Leite survived.

The accident and surgery took place on Wednesday.

"They told me he was lying down (in the ambulance) with the bar pointing upward," said Leite's wife, Lilian Regina da Silva Costa. "He was holding it and his face covered in blood. His look was as if nothing had happened. When he arrived he told the doctors he wasn't feeling anything, no pain, nothing. It's unbelievable."

Ruy Monteiro, the hospital's head of neurosurgery, told the Globo TV network that Leite escaped by just a few centimeters from losing one eye and becoming paralyzed on the left side of his body.

He said the bar entered a "non-eloquent" area of the brain, an area that doesn't have a specific, major known function.

Leite is expected to remain hospitalized for at least two weeks.

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