A Neurosurgeon Could Save Your Life Tonight


In October of 1995, the badly decomposed body of an unidentified white female was found in the water near York Island at the southern end of Pine Island, Fla. She was 35-45 years of age. Her body was wrapped in a red sleeping bag tied to a boat battery. She was wearing a medical smock with the lettering “Charleston SC VA Hospital.”
She was wearing traces of red fingernail polish and a Timex wrist watch stopped at 12:50, September 25th (fig.1).

fig 1. Her Timex Watch graphite drawing on bristol

There were two surgical screws in her right ankle and a left-sided frontal temporal craniotomy. The bone flap was secured with stainless steel sutures (fig.2).

In September of 2003, the body of an unidentified white male was found wrapped in plastic garbage bags in an industrial section of the Bronx. The deceased was in an advanced state of decomposition. The individual was 5′ 10″ and between 40 and 60 years old. He was wearing a light-colored Brooks Brothers shirt with a laundry tag labeled “Felix.” Medtronic cranial plates and screws were used for the bifrontal craniotomy (fig.3). This case was previously presented.1

fig. 3 Tomb of the Unknown Human acrylic painting on canvas

Forensics have failed to identify these individuals. Despite the numerous clues, including the craniotomies, they remain Mr. and Mrs. Doe. The two operated skulls bear the surgeons’ signatures. The bodily clues suggest that the persons who secured the battery to her body and who put him in the garbage bag were present at death. It is an awful irony that there are two people who can settle each case, one who attended to their life and the other who was in attendance when it expired. 

Though the most patient of patients; these skulls are not going quietly into that dark night. The craniums are hollering proof of a presence, even as the lives have gone. These two unknown humans – separated by time and geography – lying in bare graves are a reminder that all things eventually come to this. To each it can be noted, “A neurosurgeon saved your life that night. Because of that neurosurgeon’s marks, you might be rescued again.”

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  1. 1. Figura, B.J., Ko, K. (2011). Neurosurgery Cold Case Post-Mortem. AANS Neurosurgeon: Features Vol 20:3.




  1. I love everything you do, Dr. Ko! You really are amazing. Thank you for sharing your talent and expertise with us. ??


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