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Student Luis Ortiz Left 30 Minutes From Death After Tapeworm Burrowed Into His Brain

05/11/2015 13:09 GMT | Updated 05/11/2015 17:59 GMT

A student was left 30 minutes from death when a tapeworm became lodged into his brain after wriggling its way in and forming into a cyst.

Luis Ortiz, from California, shrugged off his headaches as heatstroke or a migraine before they became too much to bear and his mother took him to hospital.

Once there, his condition worsened and he lost consciousness. That's when doctors discovered a tapeworm larva had burroed into his brain and formed a cyst, stemming the flow of water to chambers in the brain, like a "cork in a bottle", according to Ortiz's neurosurgeon.

Doctors had to immediately operate, as the 26-year-old was left just 30 minutes from death.

"The worm was still wiggling when we pulled it out," said Dr Soren Singel.

Ortiz was shocked when he was shown the worm: "I was like, ‘That came out of me?’ It looked pretty gross."

He has had to drop out of college to recuperate, and is having therapy to improve his memory.