Teen lucky to be alive after knife impaled in face narrowly misses brain

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 145 km 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,” Ms 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.

15-year-old Eli Gregg, right, recovers in the hospital bed in Kansas City after doctors removed a 10-inch knife from his face. Source: Cliff Erwin/The University of Kansas Health System via AP

“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 (local time).

They were prepared for possible bleeding into the brain, but the operation went without a hitch and the artery remained intact.

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. Source: The University of Kansas Health System via AP

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,” Ms Russell said. “That is very understandable.”

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

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

X-Ray imagery provided by The University of Kansas Health System shows the skull of Eli Gregg with a knife embedded. Source: The University of Kansas Health System via AP

The boy is fortunate he ended up in Dr Ebersole’s hands, as he was the same doctor 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 wasps in a tree house in Harrisonville, about 56 km south of Kansas City, and fell onto the skewer.

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