Stranger Who Helped Teen Shot With Spear in Head Told Him He Wouldn't Die | NBC 6 South Florida

Stranger Who Helped Teen Shot With Spear in Head Told Him He Wouldn't Die

Astrid Cardoze and Yasser Lopez, 16, were reunited recently



    (Published Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012)

    Sixteen-year-old Yasser Lopez was overcome with tears when he was reunited with the woman whose quick thinking may have saved his life.

    Lopez was accidentally shot in the head with a spear by a friend in June. Doctors said that if he had pulled the spear out, he would have died.

    But thanks to Astrid Cardoza – a complete stranger – that didn't happen.

    "I just hold his hand and I say you can't. And he told me ‘please don't let me die,’” she told the Today Show. “And I said you don't going to die."

    Teen Recovers From Spear Shot In His Head

    [MI] Teen Recovers From Spear Shot In His Head
    Yasser Lopez’s injury astonished the experienced team at Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. Lopez was accidentially shot in the head with a spear by a friend. On Monday, he is leaving intensive care and will eventually be moved to rehabilitation for about two or three months. Dr. George Garcia, an army trauma surgeon, called it a "striking injury."
    (Published Monday, June 18, 2012)

    Lopez was spear fishing with a friend, using a 3-foot powered spear gun, when somehow the gun went off, piercing Lopez in the head. His fishing buddy called 911.

    "A spear gun just went through my friend's head,” he said, before telling authorities that they were on a lake and urging them to come help.

    Lopez was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center in Miami – still conscious, and talking. He says now that he recalls some of the episode.

    "I remember being in the ambulance, when they picked me up, I remember telling them to take it out,” he said, adding, “I could feel it inside the head."

    More Weird News

    His injury astonished Ryder’s experienced medical team.

    "It had gone from side to side of the skull, front to back. Now that’s mighty unusual. I'd never seen that – exactly that combination,” said Dr. Ross Bullock, the director of neurotrauma.

    That combination was particularly lucky. The spear was on the right side of his brain, one inch above his right eye – miraculously missing all the main blood vessels in the brain.

    After a surgery that lasted more than three hours, doctors were able to remove the spear from the teen's head.

    Lopez, who has a scar on his forehead, has a long road to recovery ahead that includes months of therapy. But he is optimistic, and says he may even go fishing again.

    "If I do ever spear fish again, very safely and with a grownup near me,” he said.

    For the full story and video on Lopez's recovery, watch Weekend Today on Saturday morning.