14-year-old Kaelan Macdonald had a shotgun pellet go through his eye in a father-son pheasant hunting accident, but he is heading home to Bismarck, N.D. after a successful surgery in St. Paul.
"Something hit me at full board right in the face -- I went down," Kaelan said, recalling the incident.
The accidental shooting could have claimed his life, but instead of hitting the brain, the pellet punctured an artery.
"This would really be a one-in-a million type situation," said Dr. Eric Nussbaum, a neurosurgeon with United Hospital. "It punctured (the artery), got caught in the flow in the center of the artery, traveled up in the artery and went out the artery and carried to this point where it's blocking flow."
That blockage caused paralysis to Kaelan's right side and compromised his speech.
"It was definitely the scariest moment when I couldn't move," he said. "No one could understand me. I could think straight but it wasn't coming out right, and that frustrated me the most."
With the fear being the threat of a massive stroke, Dr. Nussbaum performed a surgery only done in a handful of hospitals across the country, basically remapping the arteries to create blood flow.
"When you open these and you sew them together we actually use a suture finer than a human hair," Dr. Nussbaum said. "It's quite dramatic."
Kaelan's dad said a miscommunication led to the accident, and both father and son want to use their story to push for more hunting education