Skip to main content

Woman survives after harpoon shooting by husband

By Marilia Brocchetto, CNN
May 10, 2013 -- Updated 0950 GMT (1750 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The gun misfires as her husband is cleaning it
  • It hits her jaw and mouth before it lodges in her cervical spine
  • "If it had hit 1 cm to the other side ... she would have been dead," neurosurgeon says

(CNN) -- A Brazilian woman escaped death by less than an inch after her husband accidentally shot her in the mouth this week with a harpoon, authorities said.

Elisangela Borborema Rosa, 28, was in her kitchen with her husband Monday night while he was handling the harpoon, according to Rio de Janeiro state health authorities.

The gun misfired and the spear hit her in the mouth and jaw, and finally lodged in her cervical spine, officials said in a statement.

She was taken to an area hospital and doctors expect her to fully recover.

"This is the first case of its kind that we have gotten at the hospital," said Allan da Costa, a neurosurgeon who operated on the woman.

"The peculiarity of the accident is that the tip of harpoon penetrated the region between her top vertebrae and the spinal cord. If the object hit only 1 cm to one side the patient would have become a quadriplegic. If it had hit 1 cm to the other side or reach one artery to the brain, she would have been dead. "

Doctors are keeping her under observation.

"She is moving both sides(of her body), but having a little difficulty on the right side," da Costa. said. "We need to wait for the sedation to wear off and the tracheotomy tube to be removed to make a full assessment. If all goes well, she will be discharged in a week."

This is not the first harpoon accident in the state this year.

Last month, Bruno Barcellos de Souza Coutinho, 34, was cleaning his harpoon when it misfired and pierced the corner of his left eye and his skull.

He was brought to a local hospital conscious and alert and after a four-hour surgery, doctors removed the object without any brain damage.

In Coutinho's case, a neurosurgeon said the harpoon was millimeters away from vital arteries.

The case was considered a rarity and the procedure to remove it was unheard of in the city of Petropolis, just outside of Rio de Janeiro.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Is the rapid rise of religion in China a threat to the Communist Party's rule?
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Unlike most twenty somethings starting out in New York City, Zhang Yuzhu is not scrimping to make rent.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1940 GMT (0340 HKT)
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0904 GMT (1704 HKT)
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1234 GMT (2034 HKT)
The sights couldn't be sadder: Animals killed or suffering through war in Gaza.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
They are the faces of a community on the run. Photographer Warzer Jaff documents the plight of the Yazidis.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
A cameraman films a massive New York City subway rat charging at him and attacking him. WPIX reports.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT