'Miraculous': Missouri boy survives after meat skewer pierces skull

Elias Hubbard
September 13, 2018

Just ask 10-year-old Missouri lad Xavier Cunningham, who very, very narrowly avoided death after plunging face-first onto a 15 centimetre metal spike.

His mum tried to reassure him that he would be okay but he kept saying: "I'm dying mum". The skewer had completely missed Xavier eye, brain, spinal cord and major blood vessels, The Kansas City Star reports.

When Cunningham arrived at his local hospital, doctors immediately forwarded him on to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

Xavier was taken to local hospital, transferred to hospital in Kansas City and again transferred to the University of Kansas hospital where he would eventually undergo surgery.

"If this was a millimeter closer [to those vessels], it probably would have been an unsurvivable injury", Ebersole said in a video about the case.

"It was one in a million for it to pass five or six inches through the front of the face to the back and not have hit these things."

The procedure was complicated by the fact that the skewer was not round - because it was square with sharp edges, it needed to be pulled out perfectly straight.

There was no serious bleeding, allowing doctors time to carefully prepare for the surgery scheduled for the following morning.

Luckily, the skewer was successfully removed, with the doctor describing it as "miraculous". Twisting it could cause additional severe injury.

This X-ray provided by the Medical News Network shows a meat skewer impaled in the skull of Xavier Cunningham after an accident at his home Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Harrisonville, Mo.

He was attacked by a swarm of wasps and fell from a tree house, landing face-first on the skewer, which he and his friends had fixed upright into the ground, USA media reported.

"The device was sticking out half a foot from his face and substantially lodged in the tissues", he was told. The skewer spared Xavier's eye, brain and spinal cord and missed major blood vessels.

Koji Ebersole, director of endovascular neurosurgery at the University of Kansas Health System, told the Star: "You couldn't draw it up any better".

Incredibly, Xavier is expected to make a full recovery from the ordeal.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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