These X-rays show a bullet that has now been lodged in a man’s brain for a decade after he was shot in the head while waiting for a bus when he was just 17.
Sebastian Bravo, now aged 27, was a teenager when he was shot in the head by a mugger whilst he waited for the bus in the city of Moreno in the Buenos Aires province of Argentina at 7.30 pm on 15th September 2011.
In an interview with Real Press, Sebastian Bravo, who now works as a nurse, said: “I was leaving Taekwondo class when I noticed four young men drinking and chatting across the road.” He added: “I decided to ignore them and keep listening to my music while I waited for the bus” He went on: “I got a strange feeling and turned around at which point a man approximately aged 24 was holding a revolver to my head.”
It was at this point that Sebastian’s life changed forever as the gun-wielding drunk pulled the trigger on the revolver and fired a bullet directly into Sebastian’s head. He explained: “When he shot me I couldn’t feel anything. I spent a split second, that felt more like an hour, trying to understand what had happened.”
He went on: “Then I saw the shooter and his three accomplices running. That’s when the blood started dripping down my face.” Sebastian proceeded to run for several blocks covered in blood with a bullet in his head looking for help, until a car pulled over, picked him up and drove him to the hospital.
Estela and Roberto, the couple who picked him up, drove him to the Moreno public hospital where staff were not prepared to deal with him and said he needed to be sent to a private clinic.
Sebastian said that he felt extremely calm despite the gravity of the situation and for some reason, he was sure that he was going to be okay. During the journey to the hospital, he asked Estela to hold his hand not because he was afraid but because he knew that he should avoid falling asleep and asked her to wake him if his grip loosened.
He said: “They quickly took me to the Mariano Moreno private clinic where they carried out an X-ray and located the position of the bullet and called my family.”
Despite having spent several hours with a bullet lodged in his brain Sebastian claims that he was not only completely conscious but he did not even feel dizzy. When his family arrived at the hospital he said he started making jokes as he did not want the situation to take away his sense of humour. He said: “I told my mum I could see the light and that I could hear my Grandmother calling my name. “I was transferred over to the Doriguez public hospital where I waited three hours before being operated on.”
The surgeons shaved his head and then put Sebastian to sleep. He said: “When I woke up from the operation, my head was bandaged up and the doctor told me that they weren’t able to remove the bullet because it was lodged in a part of my brain which complicated the operation.”
The doctor explained that the bullet was lodged near the cerebral falx and if anything went wrong when moving it serious damage could be done to Sebastian’s brain. Sebastian said: “So, the doctors decided it would be safer to leave the bullet in my brain.”
He spent the next four days in the hospital under observation and says that he was fine apart from having to take large quantities of medication that tasted awful. However, one week after being discharged from the hospital the effects of the shooting started to show themselves.
He said: “I began to suffer from severe headaches, they were so bad I could barely sleep, I wanted to die.” He spent two months suffering until doctors gave him powerful painkillers which he says numbed the pain and allowed him to regain some sort of normality.
However, doctors told him that practising contact sports was too risky for him as a hit to the head could have dislodged the bullet. He said: “When the doctors told me this I felt broken. Taekwondo was a huge part of my life. I had my own students and I loved it but it was a precaution I had to accept.” He says that apart from having to give up Taekwondo, his life is now relatively normal, although once in a while the metal detectors at airports go off and he wonders if it is because of the bullet in his head.
He no longer suffers from debilitating headaches and says that he currently has no plans at the moment to remove the bullet, although he does not rule it out at a future date, especially if the headaches return.
When asked about who shot him, Sebastian said that the police were not able to make any arrests for reasons that are unclear, although some members of the group were underage which may have complicated proceedings. However, some years later Sebastian says that he found out about what happened to the man who shot him.
He explained: “We found out through friends in the neighbourhood that the shooters last name was Franco and came from a family in a rough part of town.”
He went on: “It turned out that years after he shot me Franco beat his younger brother over the head with a bottle during a drug binge. He was sent to prison where he committed suicide in his cell.”
Sebastian successfully finished school despite the incident and decided to rebuild his life in a new direction by embarking on a career in nursing, saying: ” After what happened to me, I realised how important nurses are.”