Alvarado man survives with huge staple in head

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on November 22, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 23 at 10:26 AM

ALVARADO -- A two-and-a-half-inch staple was fired straight into Shaun Hunter's brain.

By all accounts, Hunter should be dead, but he is alive and wants to get back to work.

"It didn't hurt,” Hunter said. “It did it so quick. A shockwave is what I felt and everybody started panicking."

Hunter was at his construction job Nov. 4, crouched over some rafters when a co-worker wanted to see what he was doing.  When Hunter lifted his head, he hit the safety on an air-powered staple gun.

"He saw the staple was in there, and he goes 'Oh my God, it's in your head, It's all the way in your head,'" Hunter said, talking about the moments after the accident.

Hunter knew it was bad, but remained calm. He walked to the supervisor's office, and tried to stay upright and conscious. After an ambulance ride to Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth, he even filled out his own paper work at the hospital.

Dr. Fernando Silva said the staple crossed into both halves of the brain, but somehow missed every major blood vessel. He said it came within millimeters of causing a brain bleed and horrific brain injuries.

When the neurosurgeon determined the grey matter was intact, Hunter was taken into the operating room. A team of surgeons tried to remove the staple with pliers, but it was lodged too deep.

"We made the decision to apply our surgical techniques to take it out,” Dr. Silva said. “Which means opening the scalp, making a little cut around the bone where the staple was and gently moving it out."

The latest scans reveal only surgical staples where the skull was reattached, and no damage to the brain tissue.

Hunter went home two days after surgery. He wants to get back to Alvarado and see his co-workers.  He can't show them the actual staple, but he has the scars and the evidence to back up his story of survival.

"I guess I have to have some sort of souvenir to take back," Hunter laughed. "That's an expensive price for pictures."

Hunter didn't blame his co-worker. He blamed himself for not paying attention. He expects to be cleared for work in a week or two.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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