These Are X-Rays of a Soldier Who Survived Live Ammo in His Head

An American military doctor recently removed 2.5-inch, unexploded round of 14.5mm ammunition was lodged into the brain of an Afghan National Army soldier in an operating room secured by a bomb squad. These are the pictures. Click to enlarge.

These Are X-Rays of a Soldier Who Survived Live Ammo in His Head


The Associated Press describes the soldier's dilemma:

When the Afghan soldier, in his 20s, arrived at the base, doctors thought it was shrapnel or the spent end of some sort of round, said Lt. Col. Anthony Terreri, a radiologist deployed from Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

But as he reviewed a CAT scan of the soldier, he realized it was a much bigger problem.

These Are X-Rays of a Soldier Who Survived Live Ammo in His Head

After securing the area, the team turned off all electronic devices lest they set off the round. The New York Times describes the operation:

To keep track of the patient's vital signs, doctors turned to manual blood pressure cuffs and a battery-operated heart monitor, and they began counting drips per minute to estimate the amount of the intravenous anesthesia they were giving the patient.

"They said, the way these things are set up, this type of round has an impact detonator on the front of the charge," Dr. Bini said. "They just said, ‘Don't drop it.' "

With that for reassurance Dr. Bini put on body armor as well, and he began the process of surgically removing the round from the patient's head, joined in the operating room only by Dr. Rengel and a member of the bomb team. He cut through scalp tissue and made a large incision encircling the round, which was lodged under a piece of skull bone and jutted down the right side of the patient's head. Within 10 minutes, he pulled out the live round. With care, he handed it to the bomb technician, who put it in a bag and left.

According to the Air Force, the unnamed soldier's health is improving.