US boy lands on meat skewer that penetrated his skull from face to the back of his head

A 10-year-old Missouri boy is recovering after he was attacked by insects and tumbled from a tree, landing on a meat skewer that penetrated his skull from his face to the back of his head.

But miraculously, that's where Xavier Cunningham's bad luck ended. The skewer had completely missed Xavier's eye, brain, spinal cord and major blood vessels, The Kansas City Star reports.

Xavier's harrowing experience began Saturday afternoon when yellow jackets attacked him in a tree house at his home in Harrisonville, about 56 kilometres south of Kansas City. He fell to the ground and started to scream. His mother, Gabrielle Miller, ran to help him. His skull was pierced from front-to-back with half a foot of skewer still sticking out of his face.

Miller tried to reassure her son, who told her "I'm dying, Mom" as they rushed to the hospital. He eventually was transferred to the University of Kansas Hospital, where endovascular neurosurgery director Koji Ebersole evaluated the wound.

"You couldn't draw it up any better," Ebersole said. "It was one in a million for it to pass 5 or 6 inches through the front of the face to the back and not have hit these things."

There was no active bleeding, allowing the hospital time to get personnel in place for a removal surgery on Sunday morning that was complicated by the fact that the skewer wasn't round. Because it was square, with sharp edges, it would have to come out perfectly straight. Twisting it could cause additional severe injury.

"Miraculous" would be an appropriate word to describe what happened, Ebersole said.

Doctors think Xavier could recover completely.

"I have not seen anything passed to that depth in a situation that was survivable, let alone one where we think the recovery will be near complete if not complete," he said.

Doctors say it was a miracle the boy survived. Source: Medical News Network



Man who beat pensioner to death soon after release from mental health unit jailed at least 13 years

A man who stomped a pensioner to death shortly after being discharged from Auckland City Hospital's mental health unit has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years.

Gabriel Yad-Elohim appeared at the High Court in Auckland today for sentencing for the murder of 69-year-old Michael Mulholland.

Mr Mulholland's daughter told the court that the pain of losing her father was immense.

She said her father was just an old man who enjoyed collecting National Geographic magazines and reading. He treasured gifts and letters from his children like diamonds.

Yad-Elohim had been out of Auckland City Hospital's Te Whetu Tawera for only three days when he killed Mr Mulholland in September last year.

His lawyers argued he had a disease of the mind, was hearing voices at the time and had no way of telling right from wrong.

The Crown said despite having schizophrenia, he knew right from wrong and killed Mr Mulholland for revenge after losing $200 in a methamphetamine deal.

rnz.co.nz

Gabriel Yad-Elohim at the High Court in Auckland today. (Claire Eastham-Farrelly) Source: rnz.co.nz

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Australian man admits stealing funeral donations, including those for an autistic boy whose father died

An Australian man admits stealing money donated at funerals, but disputes that he got away with thousands of dollars.

Paul Pecora allegedly targeted grieving families in Melbourne after looking for tributes in the newspaper that requested donations.

In January, Pecora was allegedly seen on security vision cutting through a funeral procession for Shane, a 43-year-old father of an autistic child.

The 57-year-old admitted in Werribee Magistrates Court yesterday that he stole envelopes containing money for Kai, the deceased’s five-year-old autistic son, but denied taking $7000.

A week later he attended a woman’s funeral in Essendon but left empty handed before turning himself in to police.

He told police that night he couldn’t help it and “saw an opportunity to take some money and I took the money".

"I don't even know who the funeral was for to tell you the truth."

He is also alleged to have stolen $700 in a donation box from a Bundoora funeral.

The court heard the investigating officer had contacted the mourners at Shane’s funeral and confirmed that donations ranged from $500 to $3000.

Pecora did not formally pled and will face court again next month.

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Radio station already playing Christmas songs, but it's to ease dying toddler's pain

A radio station in the US is already playing Christmas music.

But it's not a shameless bid to further commoditise the holiday that some listeners have mistakenly assumed. The station has agreed to play the music months ahead of schedule to help dying toddler Brody Allen.

The two-year-old, who has a rare form of brain cancer, has asked to celebrate the holiday early in case he doesn't make it that long.

Cincinnati, Ohio, radio station WARM 98 has promised to add a little Christmas cheer to its broadcast at least once an hour.

"You should see the Facebook comments that we're getting," radio host Jim Day told news outlet WKRC. "As soon as we explain it, they're like, 'Oh, that's a really good reason', and they're fine with it."

The station has also organised another "Christmas miracle" for tomorrow in which staff and listeners will sing carols in the child's neighbourhood, which is already adorned with decorations. A Christmas parade will take place on Monday.

"Just all over the world he's touched people," said radio station co-host Amanda Orlando, explaining that little Brody has received Christmas cards from as far away as Australia, Lebanon and Japan.

It was a sentiment echoed by Brody's father, who choked back tears earlier this week as he spoke about the community and worldwide effort with a reporter for local station Fox19.

"To have so many people across the world reach out to my son and to tell him, 'Merry Christmas, we're thinking about you and we love you', is just the greatest gift that I as a father could ever give him," Todd Allen said.

Cards can be sent to the family at 9696 Adair Court, Cincinnati, Ohio 45251, USA.


Man's fingers severed in samurai sword attack in Brisbane

A man has had four fingers and part of his thumb severed by a samurai sword during a fight at a caravan park north of Brisbane.

The 45-year-old suffered the injury after allegedly being attacked by a 40-year-old during a dispute at the caravan park in Aspley on Wednesday night.

The man underwent emergency surgery at a Brisbane hospital, while the alleged attacker will face Pine Rivers Magistrates Court on Thursday after being charged with grievous bodily harm.

Samurai sword. Source: istock.com