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7-year-old survives freak accident after blow dart gets stuck in skull

Doctors say the young girl got very lucky and could have lost her life if the dart had hit a blood vessel.
7-year-old survives freak accident after blow dart gets stuck in skull
Posted at 7:23 AM, Sep 20, 2023

A 7-year-old girl from northwestern Indiana is back home after recovering from what doctors call a freak accident.

Olivia's family doesn't want to share their last name or the name of their town, but they wanted to show their appreciation for the doctors, nurses, and everyone who cared for Olivia at Riley Hospital for Children.

Olivia was playing at a friend's house last month when her mom, Jessica, got a call saying Olivia was hurt. A blow dart went inside her nose and became embedded in the base of her skull.

Within hours, Olivia was transported to Indianapolis and undergoing surgery, performed by doctors from Methodist and Riley.

"We wanted to do that in very controlled circumstances and we had a wonderful group of people to pull together in terms of being able to do this in a safe and planned fashion which is what occurred," Pediatric Neurosurgeon Laurie Ackerman said.

According to the doctors, the accident could have been fatal if the dart hit a blood vessel.

"It was in a deep location, it was in the base of the skull and it was right next to a very important blood vessel.. miraculously she was perfectly normal," said neurosurgeon Mitesh Shah.

Olivia's mom is an ICU nurse and she says she knew right away her daughter would be in good hands at Riley.

"Every single step of this, even at the time when we didn't realize it, there has been a blessing behind every piece of this situation," Jessica said. "I don't know how much luckier any one person or family can be."

Her mom says Olivia is usually scared of doctor's office visits and hospitals but she was calm during the ordeal. This is how the family knew something was wrong and could also tell when she was feeling like herself again.

Olivia has returned home to her family. She's in such good spirits that she is able to do a cartwheels with her brothers.

This story was originally published by Jacqueline White at Scripps News Indianapolis.

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