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Italian Man Shot in the Head on New Year's Sneezes Out Bullet

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

What goes in must come out — a theory proven by a young Italian who was shot in the head during a New Year's celebration, subsequently sneezing out the .22 cailber bullet that was lodged in his head.

The party scene of Naples, Italy, proved more celebratory than some may have imagined – a fired bullet that was meant to celebrate the year’s turn, ended up in the wrong spot – namely, a guy's head. Festivities ended early for Turin local Darco Sangermano, who was with his girlfriend and visiting the rambunctious party area of Naples where fireworks, firecrackers and bullets are routinely fired off at midnight.

A fired bullet can travel for miles before landing: the 28-year-old was hit by a stray .22 caliber bullet in the right temple, origin unknown. That event proved a second adage -- that what goes up, must come down. Entering the right side of the guy’s head, the bullet got stuck and lodged itself – in a nasal passage, behind the eye socket.

The final resting place of the bullet was lucky, and sneezes are powerful stuff. While the exact speed of a sneeze remains under debate, typical estimates place a sneeze at traveling roughly 80-100 mph through the body. Sneezing also involves far more than the nose: the seemingly-simple sneeze is actually a reflex response involving muscles in the face, throat, and chest – that reflex, and an irritated nasal passage, make Sangermano one lucky guy.

After being rushed to a local ER, the normally irritating and infamous emergency room wait time actually worked in the Italian’s favor: while waiting to see hospital doctors, something triggered a sneeze and the 28-year-old sneezed out the stuck bullet. It came right out of his (right) nostril. Sangermano had been bleeding profusely when transported to the hospital.

Physicians still had to do some work, including a doctor physically removing bone splinters out of the patient’s eye during an hours-long surgery. Doctors believe the .22 caliber bullet slowed down significantly when it hit skull, saving both eyesight and the guy's life. Future laser surgery is also on the calendar, to correct some retina damage, but Sangermano is otherwise good to go and hoped to retain all of his vision .

Sneezing out a bullet isn't routine, so doctors were amazed by the event. Then again, getting shot in the head during a New Year's celebration isn't too routine either. Sangermano is 2 for 2.

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