When a gunman stormed a Simi Valley dental office last summer and shot Lydia Carranza in the chest, salvation may have come in the shape of her size-D breast implant.Sounds like wise advice and I knew you needed to know this.
That's the theory at least of a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon who hopes to drum up support to defray the costs of Carranza's reconstructive surgery.
"She's just one lucky woman," said Dr. Ashkan Ghavami, who says he will perform the surgery for next to nothing but has urged Carranza to tell her story in hopes of getting implant companies to donate the supplies.
Ghavami contends that the implant absorbed much of the bullet's impact, limiting most of the damage to the breast itself.
"I saw the CT scan," he said. "The bullet fragments were millimeters from her heart and her vital organs. Had she not had the implant, she might not be alive today."
The hospital where Carranza was treated is not prepared to make that call.
"This is not a medical issue; it's a ballistic issue," said Kris Carraway, a spokeswoman for Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. "The emergency physician who treated the patient was not aware of the breast implant having any impact or whether or not it saved her life."
But Scott Reitz, a firearms instructor and deadly-force expert witness with 30 years' experience in the LAPD, said that, although he was not involved in the case, the scenario Ghavami describes is entirely plausible.
"Common sense would dictate that any time you have something that interrupts the velocity of the projectile, it would benefit the object it was trying to strike," he said. And because a saline implant is like a high-pressure bag full of salt water, it probably would provide more resistance than plain flesh, he said.
"I don't want to say a boob job is the equivalent of a bulletproof vest," he added. "So don't go getting breast enhancements as a means to deflect a possible incoming bullet."