Kansas boy very lucky to survive knife impaling his face

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This X-Ray imagery provided by The University of Kansas Health System shows the skull of Eli Gregg with a knife embedded. The 15-year-old Kansas boy is recovering days after doctors removed a 10″ knife that impaled his face when he fell while playing. Gregg’s harrowing experience began late Thursday, June 13, 2019, when he was playing outside his home in Redfield, about 11 miles from Fort Scott in southeast Kansas. The knife was embedded into his skull, extending to the underside of the brain. The tip of it had indented the carotid artery, the major artery which supplies blood to the brain. Surgeons at The University of Kansas Health System removed it Friday morning. Eli is expected to be able to go home Monday and should recover fully. (The University of Kansas Health System via AP)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 15-year-old Kansas boy got a large knife to the face, and doctors say he’s extremely lucky.

Jimmy Russell said her son, Eli Gregg, was playing Thursday evening outside of their home in Redfield, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Kansas City, when she heard him scream. She found him with a 10-inch knife jutting from just below his eye and called 911.

“It looked pretty grim, it was scary,” Russell said in a video released by the University of Kansas Health System, where he was treated.

The knife was embedded in his skull and extended to just under his brain. The blade’s tip, meanwhile, was pushing against his carotid artery, which supplies the brain with blood.

“It could not have had a pound more force on it and him survive that event,” said Dr. Koji Ebersole, who oversaw the extraction. “I don’t think he would have survived it.”

A team of surgeons put together an intricate plan to remove the blade Friday morning. They were prepared for possible bleeding into the brain, but the operation went without a hitch and the artery remained intact.

Within 24 hours of the surgery, Eli was able to talk and make light of the situation. He was due to be discharged on Monday.

“He says he is going to stay away from sharp objects,” Russell said. “That is very understandable.”

She said Eli is doing great and should make a full recovery.

“It is almost a miracle,” Russell said. “It is really, really amazing.”

The boy is fortunate he ended up in Ebersole’s hands, as it was Ebersole who removed a meat skewer from the skull of a 10-year-old Missouri boy last year in an accident that provided equally shocking X-rays. That boy was attacked by yellow jackets in a tree house in Harrisonville, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Kansas City, and fell onto the skewer.

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