Published January 28, 2013
When Olivia Smith fell from a chair, the pencil she was using quickly became a dangerous weapon.
The pencil went through her eye cavity and lodged itself in her brain, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.
The pencil pierced through both of Olivia’s brain hemispheres, and she had to be flown to Boston Children’s Hospital via helicopter. More than 50 doctors worked on her case, and they all agreed the trajectory of the pencil ‘narrowly’ missed the parts of her brain that could have led to death or permanent damage.
“It made my eyes definitely open to everything else that goes on that you don’t think about,” Susie Smith, Olivia’s mother, told the Union Leader. “You think about your day-to-day stuff. We’re so lucky.”
Dr. Darren Orbach, the division chief of interventional radiology at Boston Children’s Hospital, told the Union Leader he plans to publish a paper about Olivia and the quick medical response she received that day.
“If you can consider someone lucky who has a pencil go through her brain, you have to consider this girl remarkably lucky,” Orbach told the newspaper.
Orbach said Olivia, 21 months, fell head-first onto the pencil, which stabbed her eye socket and continued into both brain hemispheres, stopping just below her left ear.
Scans from her initial visit to the emergency room in New Boston showed there was no intracranial bleeding.
Orbach said when he first saw Olivia, the sight was “violent and jarring.” The procedure to remove the pencil took about 40 minutes, and by the time they had finished, her scans looked like almost nothing had happened.
"I expect her to essentially make a full recovery, because of her age and how well she's doing right off the bat," Orbach said.