Maryland Teen Survives Surgery To Have 6-Inch Screw Removed From His Brain

Posted On : 01/28/2018

A freak accident led to major surgery in order to save the life of a teenage boy. Darius Foreman was building a tree house on Jan. 20 while visiting his aunt when he took a fall from a branch. A five-foot-long board hit him on the head and the 6-inch screw sticking out of the wood pierced his skull and entered his brain. But with the help of his aunt, EMS workers, and surgeons at two hospitals, Foreman was able to survive without suffering any major injuries.

When Foreman fell from the tree, his two cousins immediately ran to get their mom, Bobbi Burke. He was still wandering around in her yard trying to figure out what happened. He told USA Today that he “thought something was stuck in his hair.” But Burke was horrified to see the board attached to his head. She made him lie down on the ground, called 911, then called Foreman’s mother, Joy Ellingsworth.

Getting the boy to the hospital took some doing. First, paramedics had to cut off part of the board just to make him fit into the ambulance. They took him to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. Doctors onsite decided that it was best to transfer Foreman to Johns Hopkins. Because the attached board wouldn’t fit in a standard helicopter, the Maryland State Police copter was used instead.

Doctors were gravely concerned about the position of the screw in the young man’s head. It happened to pierce the large vein that drains blood from the brain returning it back to the heart. One mistake in its removal and Foreman could have bled out. Dr. Alan R. Cohan, chief of pediatric surgery at Johns Hopkins, said the procedure was risky but necessary.

“The danger was where it was located,” Cohen said. “That’s what made this injury so serious– the fact that he could have exsanguinated (lost severe amounts of blood).”

It took Cohen and his team about two hours to remove the nail and a small blood clot that had formed. They also put a titanium plate in his head and treated him with antibiotics which he will continue to take intravenously at home.

No one is happier about the outcome than Foreman’s mom. She took him home on Thursday which happened to be her son’s 13th birthday. She said that the hospital staff was amazing and even gave her son a party.

“They were so nice at the hospital,” Joy Ellingsworth said. “They threw him a party and decorated the room while he was asleep.”

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