July 5, 2006

Piece of Indian man’s skull falls off, draws crowds

By Bappa Majumdar

KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - Hundreds of people are thronging
a hospital in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata to see a
patient holding a piece of his own skull that fell off.

Doctors say a large, dead section of 25-year-old
electrician Sambhu Roy's skull came away on Sunday after severe
burns starved it of blood.

"When he came to us late last year, his scalp was
completely burned and within months it came off exposing the
skull," Ratan Lal Bandyopadhyay, the surgeon who treated Roy
told Reuters on Wednesday.

"Later, we noticed that the part of his skull was loosening
due to lack of blood supply to the affected area, which can
happen in such extensive burn cases."

The piece came off on Sunday and hundreds of people and
dozens of doctors now crowd around his bed, where he lies
holding the bone.

Bandyopadhyay said the skull's inner covering and the
membrane which helps produce bone was miraculously unaffected,
allowing fresh bone to grow.

"When the skull came off, I thought he will die, but we
noticed a new covering on his head forming and that might have
pushed the 'dead skull' out," he said.

While possible, such cases are extremely rare.

Roy was injured and almost killed when he was electrocuted
while repairing a high voltage wire last October.

"Doctors say a new skull covering has replaced the old one,
but I am not letting go of this one," he told Reuters.

He intends to keep his prized possession for life and not
hand it over to the hospital when he leaves: "My skull has made
me famous," he says.