CHAPEL HILL, NC (WRAL/CNN) - A UNC Hospitals surgeon is calling a 17-month-old boy a "miracle baby" after he survived the removal of a metal rod lodged in his head inches from his brain.
Jessiah Jackson was playing outside of his family's home in Leland on July 17, when he fell off of a chair and onto a rod attached to a pressure washer lying on the ground.
Jessiah's uncle, Carlton Reed, immediately tried to help.
"It scared me to death. I didn't know what to do. I just knew to keep his head still," said Reed, who has some EMT training.
A neighbor who is on the volunteer rescue squad was able to help cut the pressure washer from the rod.
With the metal rod sitting about 2 to 3 inches deep in the back of his head, Jessiah was airlifted to a Wilmington hospital and then to UNC Hospitals.
There, neurosurgeon Anand Germanwala, 34, told family members he didn't know if he could save Jessiah.
"He didn't sugarcoat anything. He said, 'Mr. Jones, more than likely, we pull this screw out of his head, and he's going to bleed out and bleed to death,'" Jessiah's grandfather, Joseph Jones said. "When he said that, man, I just lost it."
Germanwala said the rod was located at a difficult angle and next to the biggest vein in the brain.
"This could have not been in a worse location," Germanwala said.
Injury to the vein could have resulted in instant death or a massive stroke, he said.
Germanwala told the family to pray. After a two-hour surgery, the rod was removed from Jessiah's brain.
"I think we had a lot of help from above, and fortunately, everything went well," Germanwala said. "I think he is a miracle baby."
Since the procedure, Jessiah has shown no signs of long-term damage, he said. The boy is on antibiotics to prevent infection, but so far appears to be perfectly healthy.
When he is old enough, Jones said he will tell Jessiah about the ordeal.
"It's like God gave him a second chance," he said.
Jessiah is expected to be released from UNC on Tuesday.
During Jessiah's time at UNC, his grandfather had to undergo surgery for a ruptured appendix.