The X-rays tell the story.
They show an 8-inch serrated blade lodged in Michael Hill’s skull, the sharp tip deep into his brain.
Dr. Hill thought the 44-year-old man could not live when he was wheeled into the trauma unit at a Jacksonville hospital.
Hill beat the odds, and 19 months later, he is still getting better. In spite of this, he has trouble controlling his feelings, can’t work, and forgets things quickly.
“Sometimes in the morning, I can’t get my brain to make the left leg and arm work, but once I take my medicine, do my therapy and pray, I’m in good shape for the day.”
He takes medicine for pain, to stop his seizures, and to calm down.
“Even though I have a lot of problems, and it’s been an incredibly hard year, I’m so grateful to be alive,” said Hill.
In April 1998, Hill was on the north side of Jacksonville with his sister when someone knocked on the door. The neighbor stuck the knife in his head.
When Hill came in from across town, he was shocked and thought he had been hit with a fist at first.
His blood was all over the couch, coffee table, walls, and rug, but he was still awake. A paramedic told the police at one point that he wouldn’t make it.
The doctor in charge of the emergency room at what is now Shands Jacksonville Hospital, Shawna Perry, said she thought Hill would die because of the size and location of the knife.
Even though the wound was deep and the knife had a serrated edge, the surgeons were able to pull it out without cutting any major blood vessels.
Hill was in the hospital for a week and then went straight into the Guinness Book of World Records as the person who had the largest foreign object successfully removed from their brain.
Someone from the Learning Channel was filming an episode of the documentary show Trauma: Life in the ER the night Hill was brought in. Several times, scenes from that show have been shown.
On The Oprah Winfrey Show last week, Hill talked about the attack again. He has also been on The Maury Povich Show.
Derrick Smith stabbed Hill. In July 1998, he was found guilty of assault with a dea*dly weapon and given a year in the Duval County Jail. He was let go, but in July he broke the terms of his probation, so an arrest warrant has been issued for him.
Hill thinks Smith thought he was the husband of his sister, with whom Smith had a fight.
It’s hard for Hill to keep a job because of his problems, so he volunteers at the Victim Services Center and is on their calendar of speakers.
Hill said that being stabbed changed him in both body and spirit.
“I didn’t know the true meaning of living until this happened to me,” he stated. “I think that if God had wanted me, he would have taken me that night.” I was going to do something else, though.