Skull Bone Transplanted Twice

hiltonFormer Idaho beauty queen Jamie Hilton suffered brain swelling after a devastating fall in June. Doctors removed a large chunk of her skull to allow the swelling to heal, then replaced it a few weeks later. In the meantime, where did they store the skull? In her abdomen.

Doctors removed 25 percent of her skull and surgically zipped it into her stomach, where it would remain as her brain swelling subsided.

"It was pretty shocking," laughed Hilton. "I didn't know they did that."

The mother of three was in a medically induced coma for several days, then woke to find her head shaved and stitched shut, a protrusion in her stomach.

"There was just this bulge," she said. And her head "was Frankenstein-style."

Hilton is recovering well, and has chronicled her ordeal on her blog. The family did not have health insurance when Hilton was injured. Link to story. Link to Hilton's blog. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Jamie L. Hilton/Mrs. Idaho)


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I don't believe religiosity itself is harmful to scientific development; I think failure to give any credit to the role of doctors & science is harmful. This affects policy decisions in regards to medicine & science in a democratic society.

I didn't use an 'officially atheist nation' as an example of where people receive poor medical care; I gave an example of how these so called 'miracles' seem to correlate with wealth & medical development.

I actually believe I agree with you (Mr. Farrier) and Mr Gisburne on most things as well.

"I'm pointing out that a country which wholly rejected religious belief for scientific progress has failed to provide the level of medical care that a deeply religious country can."

First off, there are more than 50 million Christian people in China, and many other religious people. Secondly, my point there was the face that poor people don't seem to be the recipients of these miracles. The religious difference you immediately identified
is not really relevant; the decreased access to quality care is not due to religious differences, it's due to decreases resource availability.

"I don't see any indication that the couple involved has been so ungracious as to not thank their doctors. It seems a leap to jump to the conclusion that they have done so based on what little writing we have available from them."

There was not a single bit of public acknowledgement in the article. She only called it a miracle and thanked prayer & god.
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I'm not suggesting any such thing. I'm saying that there's no causality between the religiosity of a nation and its scientific development. Joshua Frazer advanced the argument that religiosity is harmful to scientific development but used an officially atheist nation as an example of a place where people receive poor medical care. So I'm arguing that the causality doesn't work in either direction.

I don't think that our positions are that far apart.
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I find it incredible that you're suggesting that because a country has high levels of religious following, that equates with more advanced medical care. You're actually implying that there's a direct link (and the reverse - China = atheist therefore lower medical standards). It's a ludicrous, biased, US-centric comment which has absolutely no basis in fact. If someone argued 'the USA is highly religious and that's why its gun crime statistics are so bad' they would be cut down for it straight away. Statistics are not always related to each other. Many other countries are secular, they have extremely low levels of religion, AND they have great health care systems. Religion and medicine do not and have never walked hand in hand in a 'you must have faith to excel in medicine' way. The fact that great doctors and scientists in history were religious does not mean it was their religion which drove them towards excellence. Many of them were white - are we to also say that China's healthcare lags behind because they have fewer white doctors? Of course not. That's the point. There is no cause and effect here. Belief in God does not mean better medical care. If it did, there'd be some amazing stories like the original post coming out of the Muslim world.

To your last point, I never suggested that they had not thanked the doctors at all, but that their blog is set up so that their primary focus is to give credit to 'miracles'. Medicine, the thing which really did save this woman, gets a poor second billing, which cheapens the effect real human endeavour has had on this woman's life.
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What does their government's stance on atheism have to with anything? Are you implying it's not their lack of resources but their lack of belief that results in their reduced quality of medical care?

I'm pointing out that a country which wholly rejected religious belief for scientific progress has failed to provide the level of medical care that a deeply religious country can.

It has to do with due credit, and acknowledging not only the work of the doctors but the risk they take. Again, if they screw up they get sued, but if they save your life, not even a thank you. It's a terrible incentive scheme they have there.

I don't see any indication that the couple involved has been so ungracious as to not thank their doctors. It seems a leap to jump to the conclusion that they have done so based on what little writing we have available from them.
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"China, an officially atheist nation, really the counter example that you would like to offer?"

What does their government's stance on atheism have to with anything? Are you implying it's not their lack of resources but their lack of belief that results in their reduced quality of medical care?

I don't think religious people are stupid either. I think this particular behavior is stupid. This behavior is counterproductive to progress.

Anyway, it has nothing to do with mood nor the notion that religious people are stupid. It has to do with due credit, and acknowledging not only the work of the doctors but the risk they take. Again, if they screw up they get sued, but if they save your life, not even a thank you. It's a terrible incentive scheme they have there.

I've literally had my life saved by doctors in emergency surgery. I thanked them again and again. I recognized the fact that I was very fortunate to have access to that level of care. I didn't call it divine providence and shrug my shoulders at the fact that others lack it.
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