Pastor delighted surgeon nearly called shooting victim’s recovery ‘miracle’
Petra Anderson, 22, survived a gunshot wound to the head.
AURORA, Colo. — A bullet entered Petra Anderson’s face through her nose. She was in critical condition.
Now Anderson’s pastor is telling the story of the rare brain defect that saved the life of the 22-year-old violinist injured in the Aurora theater tragedy last week — and how a surgeon stopped just short of calling the event the same thing the leader of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church did in a now-viral blog post.
Anderson was shot four times at close range, suffering three wounds to the arm and one head wound. The bullet that entered Anderson’s nose stopped at the back of her skull.
Hours after the shooting, surgeons worked to follow the bullet’s path and remove it from the back of her skull, cleaning up what was expected to be substantial brain damage.
“The doctors, prior to surgery, were concerned because so much of the brain had been traversed by the bullet,” Pastor Brad Strait wrote.
But after five hours of surgery, Anderson came out looking “almost uninjured,” according to Strait, and a doctor explained the reason why. Anderson was born with a slight brain defect — one she “would have never noticed” — that caused a tiny channel of fluid to run through her skull.
A shotgun buck shot entered Anderson’s head at the exact point of the defect, which helped the bullet channel past all her brain’s vital areas.
“It couldn’t have gone better,” a surgeon reportedly told Strait after the surgery. “If it were my daughter I’d be ecstatic. I’d be dancing a jig.”
Writing the blog post, Strait seemed tickled about how close the surgeon came to citing the supernatural.
“It is an odd thing to have a surgeon show a bit of wonder,” Strait wrote. “Professionally, these guys own the universe, it seems, and take everything in stride. … Honestly, he doesn’t call it (a miracle), he just uses words like ‘happily’ and ‘wonderfully’ and ‘in a very fortunate way’ and ‘luckily’ and ‘we were really surprised by that.’
On the other hand, Strait concluded that he and Anderson’s mother are sure of the reason the 22-year-old survived. We “know a miracle when we see it,” he wrote.
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