A 43-year-old Anchor Point man survived a gunshot wound to his head after negligently handling a .22 long rifle — and then didn’t get treatment for five days until his girlfriend persuaded him to go to the South Peninsula Hospital emergency room.
James Doppler was treated and released from the hospital with an injury Alaska State Troopers called “serious but not life threatening.”
According to a trooper press release, hospital staff called troopers on May 15 at about 2:40 p.m. when Doppler showed up with a gunshot wound. Troopers interviewed Doppler and found out he had shot himself on May 10 while handling the rifle. Doppler was alone at the time of the shooting, and his girlfriend later found him unconscious, said trooper spokesperson Beth Ipsen. The bullet did not remain in his head, she said. Citing medical privacy, Ipsen declined to give specific information about the nature and extent of Doppler’s injury.
Doppler didn’t think his injury was serious enough to get medical attention and attempted to treat it with over-the-counter antibiotic salve.
“As the days progressed, he started having symptoms associated with the head injury,” Ipsen said. “He decided he should seek medical attention.”
Ipsen said antibiotic salve is a good treatment for a flesh wound, but that there were other injuries involved.
“He’s very lucky,” Ipsen said of Doppler’s case. “For something like this, it’s best if you seek treatment immediately. With head injuries, it may not be an obvious injury that there could be something going on internally.”
Troopers did not charge Doppler with any crime, Ipsen said.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.