The parents of a 10-year-old boy are thanking God after their son miraculously survived falling face-first on to a meat skewer.
Xavier Cunningham had been playing in his treehouse in Harrisonville, Missouri, Saturday when a swarm of yellowjackets began to attack him and his friends.
The boys quickly ran down the ladder to escape, but Xavier tripped, falling onto a foot-long rotisserie skewer the boys had found earlier that day and stuck into the ground.
The skewer went through his face and reached the back of his head.
“I heard screaming, and I went running down the stairs,” Gabrielle Miller, Xavier’s mother, told the Kansas City Star. “He came in and he had this thing just sticking out.”
After rushing Xavier to the hospital, his parents learned the skewer missed key parts of his brain.
“It missed his brain. It missed his brain stem. It missed the nerves, everything that is valuable in your head. It missed everything,” Shannon Miller, Xavier’s father, told WDAF.
However, Xavier remained in critical danger and was transferred to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
Gabrielle said her son told her he was dying. She tried to assure him he wasn’t, but he responded, “I can feel it.”
From Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Xavier was transferred to the University of Kansas Medical Center late Saturday where nearly 100 medical staff worked to save his life.
“It was just a feeling of terror,” Shannon recalled. “He could’ve bled to death in that field, covered in yellowjackets.”
Koji Ebersole, director of Endovascular Neurosurgery at The University of Kansas Health System, said removing the skewer would be a high-risk procedure.
“This thing had spared the eye, spared the brain, spared the spinal cord,” Ebersole said. “But the major concern was the blood vessels in the neck.”
“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,” he told the Star.
Shannon said there were several plans in place to remove the skewer during surgery, but they were all highly dangerous. He and his family turned to prayer.
“I said, ‘Lord, I don`t care. I know You have a plan,'” Shannon said.
The surgery lasted several hours but was successful.
“All I can remember is laughing and crying and cheering. Just the support of my friends and family, it was powerful,” Shannon explained.
“It was a miracle,” he continued. “Only God could have directed things to happen in a way that would save him like this.”