Aurora Victim Petra Anderson Saved By Rare Brain Defect

Posted Jul 24, 2012

Petra Anderson, 22, was a victim at the Aurora movie shootings, but survived the bullet wounds because of a rare brain disease.  The NY Daily reports that doctors were initially less than optimistic about Petra’s prognosis because they feared the bullet that struck her skull had traveled far enough into her brain, which possibly left her with major brain damage and limited functionality.

She had surgery over the course of 5 hours where the bullet was removed and doctors are calling her recovery an “act of God.”  Petra’s brain has had a small “defect” in it from birth.  Her brain has a tiny channel of fluid that runs through her skull like a tiny vein through marble or a small hole in an oak board, which winds from front to rear.  In Petra’s case, the shot from a shotgun entered her brain from the exact point of the defect.

Like a marble in a small tube, the defect channels the bullet from Petra’s nose through her brain.  It turned slightly several times and came to a rest at the rear of her brain. In that process, the bullet missed all of the vital areas of her brain and almost missed the brain itself.  The bullet followed the route of the defect and was channeled in the least harmful way.  A millimeter in any direction and that channel would have been missed and the brain would have been destroyed.

Petra’s family had no idea about the rare stream of fluid in her brain and it would only have been noticed if she had a CAT scan, which was never needed before the shooting.  ?I believe that she was not only protected by God, but that she was actually prepared for it,? her mother said.  Yesterday Petra was moved from the ICU according to a blog post by her older sister Chloe Anderson.

Chloe set up a Facebook Page for her sister.  Petra is now walking and speaking again.  A fundraiser was started on Indiegogo to raise donations for the medical care of both Petra and her mom Kim Anderson, who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Over $130,000 has been raised through the Indiegogo page already.