In Mexico, they call her the ‘Miracle Woman’ – and it’s easy to see why. Put simply, what happened to Karla Flores is incredible by any standards. It all started one day when the mother-of-three, from Culiacán, in the state of Sinaloa, was selling seafood on the street.She heard a bang and something hit, knocking her down. Karla felt a burning sensation in her face and when she raised her hand to it there was blood. Then she lost consciousness. When Karla woke up in Culiacán General Hospital she thought a stone or rock must have got lodged in her face.
The 32-year-old said: ‘The doctor asked me what happened. I told him that I thought a stone hit me. ‘Then they started to look and discovered that it was some kind of projectile, but they didn’t know what it was.’ The x-ray and the tomography showed a weird object stuck between the superior and inferior jawbones. Then they realised – it wasn’t a stone, it was a live grenade. Apparently, the grenade was fired with a grenade launcher – the noise that Karla heard – but it didn’t explode when it hit her face. It just got embedded.Immediately the hospital was put on alert – because the deadly explosive could go off at any moment and kill everyone within 32ft. Barely able to breathe, Karla was isolated and the hospital’s patients and staff evacuated. But the clock was ticking and something still had to be done with Karla. Most of the doctors didn’t want to operate on her. Finally, the hospital head, Dr Gaxiola Meza, asked for volunteers. Four brave people came forward: Two anesthesiologists, Felipe Ortiz y Cristina Soto, the nurse Rodrigo Arredondo and Dr Lidia Soto.Along with two explosive experts from the Mexican army, they took Karla to an open field to operate her. They took all the surgical equipment with them, including light sources. That way, in case they made a mistake, nobody else would die. Karla, under only local anesthesia, was given a tracheotomy so she could breathe and four hours later, around midnight, it was done. The device was extracted from her head by a doctor wearing no armour and guided by military experts. The patient lost half of her teeth, her face is deformed by the giant scar and, according to the doctors, she has at least three years of operations ahead.
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