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Doctors Extract Live Explosive From Soldier’s Head In Afghanistan

Sometimes the truth is just as strange as fiction.

The medical drama Grey’s Anatomy had a two-part episode several years ago about surgeons having to extract an unexploded bomb from a man’s chest.

U.S. military surgeons in Afghanistan recently had to perform a similar task: Removing  an undetonated explosive from a man’s head.

The patient, a 20-year-old Afghan soldier, came in for treatment at the emergency room of Bagram Air Base hospital with what appeared to be a piece of shrapnel in his scalp.

A CAT scan showed that the object was about 2 ½ inches long.

But then radiologist Lt. Col. Anthony Terreri took a closer look at the CAT-scan, and realized that the object was actually an explosive device.

That’s when the army doctors cleared out any unnecessary personnel out of the operating room and summoned the explosive disposal team.

The surgeons had to operate wearing full-body armor, with the bomb squad nearby. According to The New York Times, the electronic monitoring devices in the operating room were turned off, so they wouldn’t accidentally detonate the explosive. So the surgical staff used manual blood pressure monitors and a battery-powered heart monitor. 

Trauma surgeon Major John Bini and anesthesiologist Major Jeffrey Rengel went to work. Bini cut through scalp tissue, cut around the explosive, which was under a patch of skull bone, according to The Times.

It took Bini 10 minutes to get the device out and hand it over to the bomb squad.

The Times reported that the patient, a National Afghan Army soldier who wasn’t identified, has been discharged from the hospital and is recovering. 

The man sustained brain injury from bone fragments, but could walk, talk and eat, according to The Times. But The New York Post reported that the man sustained traumatic brain injury from the surgical procedure.      

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