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14-year-old hunter shot through eye

A 14-year-old is recovering after he was shot through the eye in a hunting accident.
A 14-year-old is recovering after he was shot through the eye in a hunting accident.

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Russell Macdonald is no stranger to hunting, nor is his son Kaelan, but what happened to them last month out pheasant shooting, has changed that sport for them forever.

Russell said he wasn't clear to his son and two others about what path they were to be taking on the hunt.

He said he thought he told the group to sweep but in hindsight he knows he didn't because of what happened.

When Russell and his friend went ahead and his friend fired his shotgun at a pheasant, the pellets scattered, two of them hitting 14-year-old Kaelan.

"Something hit me full bore right in the face and I went down, Kaelan recalled about the incident that happened three weeks ago.

Kaelan was hit in the cheek and one pellet somehow went into his eye socket.

His father raced him to a Bismarck hospital where things got worse quickly.

"He wasn't making any sense and he couldn't use his right side of his body," Russell said of his son in those first several hours.

Kaelan was airlifted to Gillette Children's in St. Paul and then transferred to United Hospital.

There doctors found out the shotgun pellet that had inserted thru his eye socket had somehow punctured his carotid artery and became stuck there, basically stopping flow to his brain.

That's why his right side was failing.

It was like a slow stroke.

"It was definitely the scariest moment when I couldn't move," Kaelan said.

Neurosurgeon Eric Nussbaum and his team did what is called a brain bypass once they figured out the issue.

They took an artery outside the skull, and sewed it into the brain inside making a new path for blood to flow for Kaelan.

It's not a common surgery, but it isn't terribly uncommon, Dr. Nussbaum said.

What is rare is what led to it, Dr. Nussbaum said, speaking of the pellet somehow taking a trip through Kaelan's eye to get into an artery and then sit there.

He said his team debated taking the pellet out, but, decided it was too wedged into the artery to get it out safely.

Kaelan's vision in the left eye is still problematic.

He says he has double vision when he looks to his left or trying to see long distances. Dr. Nussbaum says that could correct itself in time.

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