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Man who left Koh Tao with half a skull gets a new space shuttle titanium replacement

When Lee Charlie, 32 from the UK visited Koh Tao in 2012 he did not expect to be returning to the UK with half of his skull in his hand luggage.

Lee had planned to spend 30 days in Thailand but during his trip he was found lying on the floor with the left side of his skull smashed in after falling seven meters from a second floor walkway at Tommy Resort. He was rushed to a medical facility, where, after showing no siman with half a skullgn of life for two days, medics managed to bring him around, however, in order to allow his brain to recover from the fall, doctors had to remove a quarter of his shattered skull.

Lee was in intensive care for two weeks and his family were told to prepare for the fact that he could be paralysed down his right hand side.

Later, when he was well enough to be transported back to the UK he was handed the missing parts of his skull in box that he took home with his luggage.

Sixteen months on the swimming pool maintenance worker’s head has finally been fixed up with a plate that is made from a type of titanium that is normally found in space shuttles.

man with half a skull 3Lee told British reporters “There is a big slab of titanium in my head now and I have got the nickname space shuttle head from my mates. The first thing I thought about when I got it was that when I go through metal detectors at airports it is going to go off. There have been lots of positives since having the implant, I do feel more confident with it, but physically I still have to be really careful with it and it can be painful. I can’t party like I used to. When I think about the accident I still get emotional, I think about my parents and family and what they had to go through. The worst part of the whole ordeal was realizing emotionally that I died and they brought me back to life. Now I am just thinking about moving on with my life and moving into my new place. The whole thing has given me perspective.”

man with half a skull 2In order to make the new plate experts from Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge used the bone kept from his smashed skull to mould a six inch lonh titanium plate for his head. The operation to fit the new plate took four hours, surgeons had to cut open his head and use three screws to fix it over the gap in his skull. An operation of this kind would normally require four screws but Thai surgeons had cut his skull too far back so there was no space for the final screw.

Lee now hopes he can move on with his life, “you can’t beat yourself up about something, at the end of the day I am here and I made it through. Now I am just enjoying seeing my mates seeing me do normal things. Enjoying the things that I have missed out on. I am looking forward to going out a lot more this year and enjoying good times with good people.” He said.





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