Phineas Gage

19th century American railway worker who survived a large brain trauma

Phineas P. Gage (July 9, 1823 – May 21, 1860) was an American railroad construction foreman. He is known for his unlikely survival of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain's left frontal lobe. This caused effects on his personality and behavior over the remaining 12 years of his life.[1]

Gage holding the iron that impaled his skull in 1849

Gage was born in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He died on May 21, 1860 in the San Francisco Bay Area from status epilepticus (a form of a seizure), aged 36.



  1. "Phineas Gage: Neuroscience's Most Famous Patient". The Smithsonian. Retrieved July 22, 2020.