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The left half of Bugorski’s face swelled up beyond recognition, and over the next several days started peeling off, showing the path that the proton beam (moving near the speed of light) had burned through parts of his face, his bone, and the brain tissue underneath. As it was believed that about 500 to 600 rads is enough to kill a person, Bugorski was taken to a clinic in Moscow where the doctors could observe his expected demise. However, Bugorski survived and even completed his Ph.D.. There was virtually no damage to his intellectual capacity, but the fatigue of mental work increased markedly. Bugroski completely lost hearing in the left ear and only a constant, unpleasant internal noise remained. The left half of his face was frozen, due to the destruction of nerves, and does not age. He is able to function perfectly well, save the fact that he has occasional petit mal seizures and very occasional grand mal seizures.
Bugorski continued to work in science, and held the post of Coordinator of physics experiments. Because of the Soviet Union's policy of maintaining secrecy on nuclear power-related issues, Bugorski did not speak about the accident for over a decade. He continued going to the Moscow radiation clinic twice a year, for examination, and to commune with other nuclear-accident victims. For years, he remained a poster boy for Soviet and Russian radiation medicine. In 1996, he applied unsuccessfully for disabled status, to receive his free epilepsy medication. Bugorski showed interest in making himself available for study to Western researchers, but couldn't afford to leave Protvino and go west.