California Man Survives Life-Threatening Brain Parasite

| by Sean Kelly
Luis Ortiz.Luis Ortiz.

A California man is recovering after getting a tapeworm removed from his brain.

Luis Ortiz, a 26-year-old college student, was about to begin his senior year at Sacramento State University when he suddenly got an excruciating headache while visiting his mother in Napa, California.

Ortiz’s mother called 911 and he was rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors told him he had only 30 minutes to live. He went into a coma, and doctors used a camera to perform emergency surgery.

Doctors discovered the larva of a parasitic tapeworm in his brain. The larva had formed a cyst, which blocked circulation in his brain. 

“The doctor pulled it out and he said it was still wiggling, and I’m like ‘ugh, that doesn’t sound too good.’ Like, what are the odds I’d get a parasite in my head?” Ortiz said. 

According to Ortiz, there were several ways the parasite could’ve gotten inside his body. 

“They told me it was uncooked pork or if I went swimming in the river or if I’ve been to a third world country and I was like, ‘I haven’t done any of that recently.’ But I don’t know how long that worm was in my head for,” he said. 

Following the surgery that nearly killed him, Ortiz said he’s now ready to finish school and move forward in his life, although he had to drop out of school temporarily because he cannot work or drive yet.

Sources: Napa Valley Register, CBS San Francisco / Photo credit: Napa Valley Register