Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 16:17 UK

Household drill saves boy's life


Nicholas' parents were told by the medical team that it was 'imminent death'

A doctor in Australia used a household drill to bore into a boy's skull and drain it of blood clots as his local hospital lacked the required tools.

Dr Rob Carson performed the procedure on Nicholas Rossi, 13, after the boy fell off his bike and hit his head.

The doctor had never attempted the surgery before, and had to be talked through the operation by a Melbourne neurosurgeon.

The boy's father said the doctor's improvisation had saved his son's life.

But Dr Carson told reporters: "It's not a personal achievement, it is just a part of the job."

One chance

Immediately after his fall, Nicholas Rossi appeared stable.

But his mother, a nurse, noticed a bump on his head and decided to take him to the local hospital.

When some blood came out after we'd gone through the skull, we realised we'd made the right decision
Dr David Tynan

By the time he got there, he was slipping in and out of consciousness.

"Dr Carson came over to us and said, 'I am going to have to drill into [Nicholas] to relieve the pressure on the brain - we've got one shot at this and one shot only,"' the boy's father, Michael Rossi told journalists.

The small hospital had no special tools, so the team had to use a household drill.

Dr Carson called the neurosurgeon who talked him through the procedure by telling him where to aim the drill and how deep to go.

"All of a sudden the emergency ward was turned into an operating theatre," Michael Rossi told Fairfax Radio.

"We didn't see anything, but we heard the noises, heard the drill. It was just one of those surreal experiences."

Dr David Tynan, an anaesthetist who helped Dr Carson, said the procedure took about a minute.

"It was pretty scary," he told ABC.

"You obviously worry, [are] you pushing hard enough or pushing too hard, but then when some blood came out after we'd gone through the skull, we realised we'd made the right decision."

A tube was used to drain the blood while Nicholas Rossi was given fresh blood through his arm, the Australian reported.

After the surgery, the boy was airlifted to a larger hospital in Melbourne and released on Tuesday - his 13th birthday.

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