Phineas Gage Case Study

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Internet Case Study 1 Phineas Gage’s Head Railway foreman, Phineas Gage, became one of the most famous people after a horrific accident at the construction of the Rutland and Burlington Railroad near Cavendish in Vermont. Studying Gage’s case has led to more questions about morality and judgment. And, if these are simply ‘functions of the brain’, exactly where are they located and what do they do? On the 13th of september 1848, Phineas Gage and his gang were excavating rocks to make way for a railroad. While preparing the compact explosive, the tamping iron he was using gave off a spark and ignited the powder and the resulting blast sent the tamping straight through his head. John Harlow, a physician that attended to Gage at the scene said “[The tamping iron] entered the cranium, passing through the anterior left lobe of the cerebrum, and made its exit in the medial line, at the junction of the coronal and sagittal sutures, lacerating the longitudinal sinus, fracturing the parietal and frontal bones extensively, breaking up considerable portions of the brain, and protruding the globe of the left eye from its socket, by nearly half its diameter.” (Costandi, 2010). Amazingly, Gage survived this lethal blow through the head and was walking within minutes of the accident. The lasting effects were in his personality. By 1849, Gage was living a seemingly normal life. However, the people who were closest to him began to notice drastic changes in his behavior. He was regarded as one of the most efficient and hard working men, by his contractors, but could not be re-employed after the injury due to the changes. As mentioned by Constandi (2010), Harlow described Gage’s “mental manifestations” explaining how he had become so fitful, irreverent, indulging and selfish that his friends and family said he was “no longer Gage”. Unfortunately for him, his social and

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