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Doctors Expect Full Recovery For Toddler Who Lodged Pencil In Brain

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(Photo Courtesy Boston Children's Hospital)

(Photo Courtesy Boston Children’s Hospital)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Three weeks after getting a pencil lodged deep into her brain, a 21-month old girl from New Hampshire is home, and on her way to what’s expected to be a full recovery.

Earlier this month, Olivia Smith was holding a colored pencil when she fell off a reclining chair in her New Boston home.

As x-rays show, the pencil went through her eye cavity and into her brain.

Amazingly, doctors say the pencil missed all major vital areas of her brain. A millimeter off in any direction, and Smith likely would have suffered major brain damage or even death.

“If you asked me to sit down with a patient’s scan and draw a line that would go from one end of the brain to the other, avoiding every major blood vessel and even avoiding critical areas of the brain. I would be hard-pressed to find a pathway that would cause so little injury,” Dr. Darren Orbach, the division chief of interventional radiology at Boston Children’s Hospital told The Union Leader.

After hours of tests and planning, it took doctors about 40 minutes to successfully remove the pencil.

“I expect her to essentially make a full recovery, because of her age and how well she’s doing right off the bat,” Orbach told the newspaper.

Smith was moved to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, where she stayed for a week. Olivia went home last week and is well on her way to that full recovery.

Orbach plans to publish a paper about the hospital’s medical response to the injury.

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