In the United States, one of the major causes of traumatic brain injuries is gunshot wounds to the head. So, now, more than ever, people are asking themselves: “Can I survive getting shot in the head?”
Yes, you can, but the statistics don't paint a rosy picture. Headshots are fatal 90% of the time, with many victims checking out before they even reach a hospital. For the ones who do make the trip, 50% of them don't get past the emergency room.
What separates the fortunate few from the unlucky? If you guessed dumb luck, then you're on the right track. However, what constitutes dumb luck in this situation isn't as straightforward. For starters, you have to look at the type of bullet, its trajectory, and whether or not the doctors are willing to cut you a break.
Sure, a lot of this is out of your control... okay, pretty much all of it is. But if you ever become Master of the Universe, you're going to have to know what makes the perfect storm. So, read on! Your headshot survival depends on it...
The Type Of Gunshot Wound Makes All The Difference
The type of gunshot wound plays a big role in headshot survival. Chances are, you're not going to have the luxury to choose, but if you did, a penetrating wound might be your safest best bet. This is when the bullet goes straight through the head and creates entrance and exit wounds. If the bullet doesn't make an escape, then it's called a perforating wound. The trouble here is that a bullet lodged in the brain can migrate and cause even more damage.
Blood Loss Is The #1 Killer
Contrary to popular belief, getting your brains blown out isn't the main reason why a shot to the head kills; it's blood loss. This goes double for when a bullet passes from one temple to the other. The brain's midline has many important blood vessels, so if they go, it's not long before you follow. And if bleeding out doesn't get you, then the pressure from a growing blood clot will. With each passing second, the brain's tissue becomes more and more compressed.
A Close-Range Shot Isn't A Guaranteed Death Sentence
If men were as hard-headed as stereotypes would lead you to believe, they'd be able to brush off a headshot no problem. In reality, bullets have no problem getting through those “thick skulls,” particularly when the wounds are self-inflicted.
According to a 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 56% of male suicides involved a gun. Clearly, men resort to this gruesome method because it seems foolproof, but a close-range shot to the head isn't a guaranteed death sentence. You can't forget about aim, because believe it or not, it's possible to miss (kind of).
The Bullet Track Has To Bypass Vital Areas Of The Brain
Each hemisphere of the brain is made up of four lobes. Ideally, you'd want the bullet track to be limited to one hemisphere and one lobe. For instance, if the bullet path goes through the right frontal lobe while staying clear of the brain stem, the most vital areas of the brain (the parts that control your breathing and thinking) could be spared. Basically, this is an upward trajectory through the forehead and out the back of the head.