Although the human is the only creature on the face of the earth that can break a bone only by tripping, don’t get fooled – we are not as fragile as we may look. We are, in fact, one tough bunch of earthlings. Despite our seemingly vulnerable and frail constitution, our bodies are impeccable machines that are capable of miracle recoveries even after the most horrific traumas.
Let’s go back to the breaking bone example. If any animal in the wild fractures a limb, the game is pretty much over for it. Humans, on the other hand, may not only break a leg, they may lose the whole limb, more than one limb even, get multiple stab wounds, shot wounds, drown in icy waters, be in a dreadful car crash, devour poisonous substances, and still show up for work on Monday morning. Of course, you’d argue that this is possible due to the fact that we have hospitals, and doctors, and emergency medical care that could bring a whole pack of deadly wounded wolves back to life. Yet, the ability of the human body to endure even the most horrible pain is pretty impressive.
We all may have have “survived” a tonsil removal procedure and successfully recovered after filling our bodies with poisonous substances, better known as tequila and scotch, but there are people who have taken the survival scheme to a whole other level. Their stories of remaining alive after experiencing extreme traumas are beyond belief.
Here are 15 shocking survival stories of people who’ve been though the unbelievable and managed to cheat Death.
15. American Man Is The First To Beat AIDS
Timothy Brown was diagnosed with HIV in 1995, when this diagnosis was still considered a death sentence. To make things even worse, the guy had leukemia! But a certain doctor, Gero Hutler, decided to perform an innovative procedure nobody had tried before. Brown was given a stem cell transplant to treat his leukemia. The trick the doctor applied was that instead of using cells from a matching donor, he chose one with CCR5 – a rare genetic mutation that makes the cells resistant to HIV. Surprisingly, the transplant did its miracle – it cured not only Brown’s leukemia, but his HIV, too! Now, Brown is referred to as “The Berlin Patient” – the first known person to be cured of HIV. And he hasn’t taken any retroviral drugs since the day of the procedure! Reportedly, as of 2017, six more people have been cured of HIV after receiving the same treatment.
14. Holly Dunn Is The Sole Survivor Of The Notorious “Railway Killer”
Angel Maturino Resendiz, a.k.a. The Railroad Killer, was responsible for 15 murders across the US and Mexico during the 1990s. And the only survivor of his killings is Holly Dunn. She and her boyfriend were approached by Resendiz on the night of August 29, 1997, while they were standing and chatting by some train tracks. He first asked them for money, but as they refused, he smashed the boyfriend’s head with a 50 pound rock. Holly was raped, stabbed in the neck with an ice pick, and beaten so severely that her face was literally unrecognizable. Luckily for her, she passed out. The killer must have thought she was dead as, when she awoke, he was gone. Holly crawled to a nearby house and asked for help. She was taken to the hospital and suffered from a shattered eye socket and multiple other injuries, among which a broken jaw. Holly completely recovered both from the physical and the emotional trauma, and founded Holly’s House – a child and adult advocacy center for victims of sexual crimes.
13. Chinese Schoolboy Gets Shot With An Arrow In The Eye
In December 2008, 11-year-old Liu Cheong was rushed to the nearest hospital with a 16-inch arrow sticking out of his eye socket. The kid was shot by a friend at school during an arching practice. The arrow went through his head and stopped at the back of his skull. Miraculously, the arrow missed the brain. The surgeons had to break off part of the arrow to get the boy’s head scanned, and then spent hours removing the weapon. They had to cut parts of the skull to remove it in order not to damage optic nerves and brain tissue. The shooter, a 12-year-old girl was actually in a much worse condition than her victim – she was too taken to the hospital and treated for shock. By only looking at the picture, you may see why.
12. Woman’s Skull Slips Off Of Her Neck After A Horrific Car Crash
23-year-old Rachel Bailey sustained what is considered a fatal injury – her skull was torn from her spine – a condition the doctors call “internal decapitation.” In this case, the spine is detached from the skull, but the head is still held on by tissues and muscles. She got injured in a car crash, which happened in September 2011, in Phoenix, Arizona. Thanks to the on-time intervention of the firefighters, the girl’s life was saved. If it doesn’t kill you on the spot, this type of injury usually results in lifelong paralysis. But, miraculously, Rachel survived with her spinal cord intact. The injury only erased some of her short-term memory and she couldn’t remember a five-week period around the time of the accident. After weeks of intensive therapy, she was able to fully recover her speech and motor functions.
11. 14-Year-Old Girl Survives Nine Hours In The Ocean After Plane Crash
June 30, 2009 is a day Bahia Bakari is going to remember for the rest of her life. Because that was the day she was supposed to lose her life… like all the other 152 passengers onboard Yemenia Flight 626. The Airbus plunged in the waters of the Indian Ocean, and young Bahia was catapulted from her seat into the cold waters at two in the morning. She wasn’t a good swimmer, but was able to stay afloat by holding onto a scrap piece from the crashed plane. Nine hours after the accident, she was discovered by a civilian vessel and taken to a hospital. She had a fractured pelvis and broken collarbone. But it was nothing given she was the only survivor. Her mother was among the dead, but luckily for the child, at least her father wasn’t on that plane.
10. Bear Chews On A Guy’s Head But He Survives
In October 2011, a black bear chased a family dog into its Pennsylvania home. Already inside the house, the beast forgot about the dog and attacked the husband, Richard Moyer. The brawl woke up the wife, Angela, who came down from the upstairs bedroom. As she tried to intervene, the bear went after her. But Richard did what every loving husband would in this situation – he kept his head down and leapt onto the bear. And at that moment the animal got really mad. It ravaged the hell out of the poor guy. But then, all of a sudden, it seemed to lose interest in its victim, stopped gnawing at his head, went onto the porch, and just sat there. The damage done on Moyer’s head by the bear’s claws and fangs required 37 staples. Amazingly, the couple’s 10-year-old son had slept during the whole thing.
9. Phineas Gage Becomes Neuroscience’s Most Famous Case
In 1848, the 25-year-old Phineas Gage was a member of the crew cutting a railroad bed somewhere in Vermont. Very unwisely perhaps, he was using a tamping iron to pack explosive power into a hole, but the pole struck a rock and caused a spark, setting off the dynamite.
The explosion threw Gage into the air and the pole pierced his head. It entered through his eye socket and exited at the top of his head. A few minutes later, however, he got up and went by himself to the doctor’s office. When the doctor arrived, Gage said in the most calm voice, “Here is business enough for you, Doc”. The doctor almost passed out at the sight of his “pulsating brain.”
The thing is that Gage survived the accident although he was missing quite a large piece of his brain. However, his personality changed dramatically. Once cheerful and friendly, he became moody and aggressive. This 19th century accident is now considered a textbook example of how the frontal lobe of the brain functions.
8. Polish Woman Is Buried Alive In A Cardboard Box And Claws Her Way Out
When Marcin Kasprzak got bored with his fiancé and mother of his 3-year-old son, Michelina Lewandowska, he talked his friend Patryk into helping him get rid of her. Marcin attacked the girl with a stun gun, and while she was still unconscious, they bound her wrists and ankles and stuffed her into a cardboard box. Then they drove off into the woods and buried her alive under four inches of earth by a tree trunk. When she came to her senses and realized what situation she was in, Michelina was certain her life was coming to its end. But then she remembered she had to take care of her young son, and the thought pumped her with enough strength to free herself. Ironically, she used her engagement ring to cut the tape she was bound with, and clawed her way out of the shallow grave. She testified against her attackers and they were sentenced to 20 years in prison.
7. Skydiver Survives After A 10,000 Foot Plunge When His Parachute Fails To Open
On a sunny day in August, 2009, the 40-year-old freelance cameraman Paul Lewis was filming tandem jumps at the Parachute Center in Whitchurch, UK. He jumped from an altitude of 10,000 feet and while he was falling at over 100 mph, he very soon realized his main parachute wouldn’t open. And the reserve parachute didn’t work properly, either. At about 2,000 feet, he fainted. Lewis was lucky as he didn’t break a single bone. He landed on the roof of the hangar, and only suffered a minor neck injury. It is interesting to mention that the person who has fallen the greatest distance without a parachute, and survived, is a Serbian air hostess who fell 33,000 feet riding the wing of her blown up JAT airliner in 1972.
6. Frozen Solid Woman Is Brought Back To Life Without Even Frostbites
The year is 1980, and Jean Hilliard’s car wouldn’t start. So, the woman decides to walk for the rest of the way home. She must have underestimated the cold weather, though, because her body couldn’t endure the temperature of -22 degrees, and she collapsed just a couple of feet from her home. A neighbor found her on the following day. Jane’s frozen body was stiff as a board and when they arrived at the hospital, the doctors feared nothing much could be done. None of her limbs would bend, and the needle snapped against her hardened arm. The medics thought they had to amputate if, of course, she would survive the multiple organ failure. They wrapped her in an electric blanket and just waited to see if anything would happen. Miraculously enough, within a few hours, Jane’s body twitched, and by noon, she woke up completely. Her frostbites had completely disappeared, and she felt fine aside from being a bit disorientated.
The only reasonable explanation behind this incredible survival is that her body froze so quickly that it instantly went into a hibernation state, which prevented any damage to her brain or internal organs to occur.
5. Accident With A Bus Changes Famous Artist Frida Kahlo’s Life Forever
92 years ago, on September 17, 18-year-old Frida Kahlo was riding a bus together with her boyfriend. However, they never reached their destination, because the bus collided with a trolley car. From the impact, Kahlo was catapulted onto the road, her clothes torn from her body, and a large piece of metal handrail through her body. When she was taken to the hospital, the doctors thought she surely was going to die. The extent of her injuries was unbelievable. Her spinal column was broken in three places, she had eleven fractures in her right leg and her foot was totally smashed. Her collarbone was broken, as were two of her ribs. Her left shoulder was dislocated, and her pelvis severely broken in three places. Kahlo, however, lived (fortunately for all the admirers of her work around the world). She had to spend three months in a full body cast. Eventually, she was able to walk again, but was in excruciating pain for the rest of her life. During the following three decades, she underwent 35 surgeries, mainly on her back and her right leg.
4. Guy Gets 16 Bullets And Survives
Most times it takes only one bullet to send somebody to their Creator. But that was not the case with Joseph Guzman. On November 25, 2006, he was leaving a bachelor party in Queens, NY together with two friends. At some point, their car was hit by a minivan, then a man got out of the van and started shooting at the car. More people joined him, and soon it all turned into a bloody mess. Later, it became clear that the shooters were police detectives who were undercover at the party. When Guzman was admitted to ER, the doctors counted 19 bullet holes caused by 16 bullets. He was shot in the face, the chest, the legs, and suffered multiple injuries to his internal organs. However, he made a full recovery, and the case received a lot of criticism of the police. The undercover officers were charged with manslaughter (as one of the guys in the car was killed in the shootings), but were eventually acquitted of all charges.
3. Man Shoots Nail Into His Own Head And Is Unaware Of It
We’ve heard about cases of people trying to kill themselves with a nail gun, but Dante Autullo of Chicago had no intention of finishing his life the day when he decided to fix the garden shed. He did some work on the shed, then some snow plowing, nothing out of the ordinary, actually. On the following day, however, he was feeling sick and went to see a doctor. At the hospital, they X-rayed his head, and when they brought in the picture, Autullo was like, “Is this a joke?” The X ray showed a 3 1/4-inch nail INSIDE his brain. “I thought the nail went past my ear when I misfired the gun. But look what happened!” Autullo told the doctors. His neurosurgeon said the case was unusual but not that rare. The reason why Autullo survived was that a nail doesn’t go in like a bullet, which would break into pieces doing a lot more damage.
2. Rail Yard Worker Is Cut In Two By Train…And Now Claims That “Life Is Good”
Truman Dunkan should have been dead for already seven years. But he isn’t. And although back in 2006 his body was nearly severed by a train, he enjoys life now more than ever before. Despite the fact he is in a wheelchair, missing both legs! On that fateful day in June, he was doing his regular job in the rail yards of Cleburne, Texas, when he slipped and fell onto the tracks. A moving railcar cut him in half. Literally. He lost both legs, a part of his pelvis, and a kidney. With such severe multiple traumas, 99% of the people would instantly pass out. But not Dunkan! In fact, he was conscious enough that he was able to call 911. While he was waiting for the paramedics to arrive, he made even one more call – to his family. Dunkan made a remarkable recovery, because, as he says, “The human body has this very subtle but extreme powerful ability to squelch pain when you need it to survive, and your brain is directing all its power towards reaching that goal.”
1. Split Lip Leads Boy To Nearly Losing His Face And…Life
5-year-old Jake Finkbonner was playing in the last basketball game of the season in the Pee-Wee League, when he was pushed from behind and split his lip. It doesn’t sound like something serious, does it? But the basketball hoop where he fell held a deadly surprise for the boy – the flesh-eating bacteria Strep A. The doctors told the parents that their son was probably going to die. No treatment could stop the process of infection. Jake’s family somehow accepted the inevitable death of their child, and, being dedicated Catholics, asked for the last rituals to be administered. But then the infection just stopped spreading. Although it took many skin grafts and surgical procedures to restore Jake’s face, at least he didn’t die. Given the fact that most patients die within 24 hours after they were diagnosed, Jake’s recovery may be considered a miracle beyond any comprehension and scientific explanation.
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