A 10-year-old boy miraculously survived falling from a ladder onto a foot-long meat skewer that penetrated his face, the Kansas City Star reports.
Xavier Cunningham was attacked by wasps while playing in a tree house outside of his home in Harrisonville, Missouri, on September 8.
While fleeing the wasps, the boy fell 4 feet head-first as he climbed down a ladder, and landed on a meat skewer that passed straight through his face to the back of his skull.
“I heard screaming, and I went running down the stairs,” Xavier’s mother, Gabrielle Miller, told the newspaper. “He came in and he had this thing just sticking out.”
As the family rushed Xavier to the hospital, the young boy heartbreakingly told his parents that he felt he was dying. Xavier was transferred to two different hospitals until he arrived at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, where doctors found that the skewer had, miraculously, avoided anything vital.
“It missed his brain. It missed his brain stem,” Shannon Miller, Xavier’s father, told FOX 4. “It missed the nerves, everything that’s valuable in your head. It missed everything.”
Yet, surgeons were worried about the risks involved in removing the skewer and suggested that they wait until the next morning to assemble relevant doctors to attempt the extraction. That meant Xavier would need to remain in the hospital for hours with the sharp-edged tool lodged in his face.
“If he was going to get anxious or nervous and start moving around, he could move the device and cause significant injury that he had not yet incurred,” Koji Ebersole, a director at The University of Kansas Health System, told the Star.
Yet, doctors were amazed that Xavier had even survived to that point.
“You couldn’t draw it up any better,” Ebersole explained to the newspaper. “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.”
He added: “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.”
The hours-long surgery was successful, and Xavier is expected to be released from the hospital in a matter of days, FOX 4 reported.
“He could’ve bled to death in that field, covered in yellow jackets,” Xavier’s father said. “Only God could have directed things to happen in a way that would save him like this… it really was a miracle.”
Dubbing him the “Missouri Miracle” his family have started a GoFundMe page to help pay for his medical costs.