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A 49-year-old Chinese man was working the night shift at a factory when, without warning, a machine malfunctioned, crushing him under a mechanical arm and impaling him on ten spikes; a certain death, or so his colleagues thought.
The porcelain factory worker, known by the surname Zhou, was rushed to hospital in Zhuzhou, southern Hunan Province, last Tuesday by his horrified and desperate colleagues who were powerless to remove the 10 steel spikes which measured 30cm (12 inches) long and 1.5cm (0.6 inches) thick. He was in extreme distress and unable to move his right hand.
One spike penetrated just 0.1mm from the man’s subclavian artery and its accompanying vein which, if severed, would almost certainly have killed him.
Of the ten spikes, six of them pierced his right shoulder and chest while the remaining four penetrated his right forearm and wrist. After an initial examination, he was transferred to the Xiangya Hospital of Central South University which specialises in complicated surgery.
A multidisciplinary team at the hospital including cardiothoracic surgery and hand microsurgery began operating on the morning of December 5, under the guidance of Professor Tang Juyu.
One-by-one the team painstakingly removed the spikes, carefully avoiding any major blood vessels and nerves. The hours-long surgery was a success.
Zhou regained some sensation and movement in his right hand and is recovering pending further treatment and rehabilitation.
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