Boy, 3, Survives After Sausage Skewer Impales Brainstem

Story ByJohn FengSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyAsia Wire Report

This toddler came within an inch of his life when he impaled his brain stem on a bamboo skewer after running and tripping with the sausage stick.

The three-year-old from Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province in East China, was noshing on the roasted pork sausage when the accident happened on 1st May, his mum said.

According to Shen Zhipeng, a neurosurgeon with Children’s Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, the bamboo stick was rammed deep into the back of the boy’s mouth, impaling his brain.

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Worrying CT scans showed the bamboo having travelled all the way between his skull and cervical vertebrae, skewering his brainstem.

Only 3 centimetres (1.1 inches) of the stick could be seen inside the mouth of the boy who Doctor Shen said was “in constant life-threatening condition”.

In an emergency operation that followed, Doctor Shen, who is deputy head of neurosurgery, was able to slowly remove the skewer and stop any bleeds along the way.

The boy is now in stable condition but it is still unclear whether he will suffer any long-term effects from the injury.

“Because the bamboo skewer was quite dirty, there is a high chance of infection,” Shen said.

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He added: “Once we confirm there is no infection or further bleeding, we can begin evaluating his brainstem and whether there has been any significant damage to his nerve function.”

In February, a 10-year-old girl from Central China’s Hubei Province also fell victim to the popular sausage on a stick snack when she injured herself in similar circumstances.

The skewer impaled her skull from inside her mouth but was fortunately removed during a successful surgery in the city of Yichang.

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John Feng

I am a senior journalist and editor, and have worked for a number of different news agencies over the last decade. I am currently editor-in-chief of the Asia Wire Report news wire.

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