An internally decapitated toddler has taken his first steps after undergoing surgery.
According to NBC News, 16-month-old Jaxon Taylor was internally decapitated following a 70-mph car crash in New South Wales. Jaxon was riding in the vehicle with his mother and 9-year-old sister last month when they collided with another vehicle. The extreme force of the impact left tore apart Jaxon’s vertebrae and left his head internally decapitated. While his head was still attached to his body, inside his neck was broken, an injury that most people would not survive.
Jaxon’s injuries were so severe that the doctors said it was a wonder that he didn’t die instantly. His 9-year-old sister suffered abdominal injuries during the crash, but her injuries were nowhere near as severe as her younger brother’s.
“The second I pulled him out, I knew that he — I knew that his neck was broken,” the toddler’s mother Rylea Taylor said through tears.
“A lot of children wouldn’t survive that injury in the first place,” spinal surgeon Geoff Askin, who cared for Jaxon after he was airlifted to a hospital in Brisbane, said. “And if they did and they were resuscitated they may never move or breathe again.”
7 News Melbourne reported that Askin, who is known as the “godfather of spinal surgery,” and his team, used one of Jaxon’s ribs to graft the severed vertebrae together, during a six-hour surgery that saved his life.
“More than 95 [percent] of people who suffer atlanto-occipital dislocation, or internal decapitation, die immediately,” Dr. Nitin Bhatia, UC Irvine Medical Center’s chief spinal surgeon, told Time in 2009. “Of the 5 [percent] who make it to the hospital, half die, and the other half are quadriplegics.”
Due to the extensive damage to his spinal cord, Jaxon could have faced lifelong paralysis, or even worse — death. However, the doctors were able to successfully complete the surgery, repairing his internal decapitation, and now Jaxon is showing major improvements. He even took his first post-surgery steps while smiling for the camera, with his mom and dad at his side. Not only was he walking, he was kicking a balloon, laughing, and hugging his parents.
“It is, it’s, it is a miracle,” Rylea said.
Jaxon’s doctors said he will have to wear a brace over his head for eight weeks to help the tissues and nerves connecting his head to his spine to heal. While the process may take a while, Jaxon’s doctors expect him to make a full recovery, and believe he will be able to go on living his life like any other 1-year-old child.
[Photos via YouTube video screenshots]