A young boy from Harrisonville, Missouri is incredibly lucky to be alive. 10-year-old Xavier Cunningham is currently recovering from injuries sustained when he fell from a tree house onto a meat skewer. The thin, metal rod went through the boy’s skull, yet “miraculously” missed his eyes, brain, and spinal cord.
Xavier was playing in a tree house at his home when the accident occurred on Saturday, September 8, 2018. Suddenly, however, he was swarmed by yellow jackets which began to sting him, causing him to fall. As he fell from the elevated structure, he landed on a foot-long metal grilling skewer. The square metal rod had been driven approximately six inches into his skull.
After his fall, Xavier amazingly remained conscious.
“I heard screaming, and I went running down the stairs,” the boy’s mother, Gabrielle Miller, told the Kansas City Star. “He came in and he had this thing just sticking out.”
They immediately rushed to the hospital, at which point Xavier realized the severity of what had happened.
“I’m dying, Mom,” he reportedly told his mother. “I can feel it.”
Xavier was transferred to twice to different hospitals, eventually ending up at the University of Kansas hospital. It was there that he underwent surgery to remove the meat skewer. As it had missed all critical structures in his head, there was no active bleeding. This allowed for expert surgeons to be called in before any attempt was made to proceed with removal. As such, Xavier had to remain still and wait.
He was “remarkably resilient and brave,” according to Koji Ebersole, The University of Kansas Health System’s director of Endovascular Neurosurgery.
The surgery would still be a high-risk operation, however. Because of the sharp, square shape of the skewer, they would have to be careful not to twist it. Doing so could have caused severe complications, if not the child’s death.
Luckily, the skewer missed Xavier’s major blood vessels as well as all the other critical structures.
“You couldn’t draw it up any better,” said Ebersole. “It was one in a million for it to pass 5 or 6 inches through the front of the face to the back and not have hit these things.”
The doctors now believe Xavier could make a complete recovery.
“I have not seen anything passed to that depth in a situation that was survivable, let alone one where we think the recovery will be near complete if not complete,” Ebersole told the Star.