Kern: Sleep and Man Thai Ngoc Essay

Submitted By jigglepuff123
Words: 518
Pages: 3

Hungarian soldier Paul Kern took a bullet to the head by a Russian soldier during World War I. Rather than killing him, the injury made Kern unable to sleep.

Several people have gone days without any sleep, the current record holder for the most time going without sleep intentionally is held by Randy Gardner, who in 1964 went 264.4 hours without sleep. Although the Vietnamese man Thai Ngoc has reported to have never slept since 1974 following a fever, his case has not been scientifically documented. However, the case of Paul Kern has well been scientifically documented and his story has baffled sleep researchers for decades.

Paul Kern was a Hungarian soldier, who was serving on the Eastern frontlines during World War I, when in 1915 a Russian soldier sent a bullet straight through his skull, coming out the other end and damaging his frontal lobe of the brain. Typically, such damage to the frontal lobe will result in certain death. By a stroke of luck, Kern survived the damage but when he awoke from unconsciousness at Lemberg Hospital, Kern discovered that he was unable to sleep. Aside from the fact a large portion of his frontal lobe was missing, X-Rays displayed no changes in the brain and Ernst Frey, a university professor of mental and nervous diseases studied Kern and found no abnormalities. Doctors said Kern was doomed to an early death, they were wrong. Kern would go on to live another forty years, dying in 1955, without a bit of sleep.

Kern moved to Budapest and there he was employed into the government’s Pensions Department. To make things even more interesting, Kern was immune to sedatives and sleeping pills, having no affect on him in the slightest. While not being able to sleep, Kern had a lot of time on his hands and in spite of everything; he lived a happy and normal life. Being employed at the Pensions Department kept him busy for the most part of…