One millimetre from death: Toddler survives miraculously after falling on to a pencil which pierced her eye socket and lodged in her brain
Wren Bowell tripped over a stair-gate forcing the pencil she was carrying through her eye socketIt bounced off her eyeball and missed three major blood vessels but ended up jammed 1.5inc into the front of her brainDoctors spent four hours operating on her to save her life and remove a section of her skull

A toddler ended up one milimetre from death after she fell onto a pencil which pierced her face and lodged in her brain.

Two-year-old Wren Bowell tripped over a stair gate at home and fell forcing the the pencil she was carrying through her eye socket.

The lead pointer bounced off her eyeball and missed three major blood vessels but ended up jammed 1.5 inches into the front of her brain.

Wren Bowell

Scan: Neurosurgeons operated on Wren for four hours to save her life after removing a section of skill

Wren Bowell

Wren Bowell

Remarkable: Wren, pictured with her mother Michelle, emerged unscathed with no brain damage and no ill-effects on her eye-sight after the pencil just missed two major blood vessels in her head

She was rushed to hospital where
neurosurgeons operated on her for four hours to save her life removing a
section of her skull to take the pencil out.

Remarkably, the lucky youngster emerged unscathed with no brain damage and no ill-effects on her eyesight.

Her
father Martyn, 34, said: ‘The pencil missed her eye completely as it
bounced off the top of it, and we have been told there was no damage to
the optic nerve – which is remarkable.

‘We
only found out afterwards that the pencil missed two major blood
vessels and if it had gone a millimetre either way it could have been a
lot worse, if it had hit a third.’

Wren Bowell

Lodged: A scan showing the pencil lodged in Wren’s brain after she tripped and fell on to it

Wren, from Peasedown St John near Radstock, Somerset, had been drawing in her bedroom and was running to show her parents when she tripped over a stair gate.

The pencil went straight into the corner of her eye and 3.8cm – one-and-a-half inches – into the front of her brain.

Incredibly, it missed two blood vessels before coming to rest just one millimetre away from a third, major blood vessel.

Wren Bowell with parents Martyn and Michelle

All better: Wren Bowell with her parents Martyn and Michelle. The toddler had to spend three weeks in hospital with her family at her bedside

Her parents heard her screams and rushed to her aid, immediately dialling 999 for an ambulance.

Martyn, a professional model maker, said: ‘The stair gate was there to keep her safe, but as she tripped over it while carrying the pencil she fell onto it.

‘If anything happens to your child you are shocked.

‘A broken bone would be bad enough, but something happening to the eye, head or brain is one of the worst things that could possibly go wrong.

‘Fortunately my wife, who’s a nursery nurse, kept a level-head and realised not to try and get the pencil out.’

The child was rushed to the Royal United Hospital in Bath, but transferred to Frenchay Hospital, in Bristol, when scans showed how far in the pencil was lodged.

Specialist surgeons were then forced to remove part of her skull to take out the object.

Martyn said: ‘The pencil was stuck so hard that they had to pull part of her face off and take out part of her skull to take out the pencil.

‘They then put Wren’s skull back together with plastic plates and screws, which will biodegrade.’

After the operation Wren spent three weeks in Frenchay with her family around her bedside before she was allowed home.

The recovering toddler had to take anti-seizure drugs as a precaution due to the brain injury – but has been fine since the operation.

Frenchay consultant neurosurgeon Ian Pople, who operated on Wren, said she was ‘incredibly lucky’.

He claimed other people who suffered similar injuries had suffered permanent brain damage or even died.

Wren Bowell

Lucky: Consultant neurosurgeon Ian Pople, who operated on Wren, said she was ‘incredibly lucky’

Mr Pople said: ‘The pencil was within a millimetre of hitting a big blood vessel in the brain.

‘She was incredibly lucky as she came out, fortunately, with no major bleeding. It just skirted the top of the eye and that it didn’t damage the eyeball itself was very fortunate.

‘She was very lucky not to have suffered any permanent damage as far as we can see.

‘I have also known of a case, which I did not deal with myself, that was fatal. And another, which was not fatal but caused a lot of damage because it hit the blood vessel.’

Martyn, who has signed up for a first aid course since the incident, is now raising money for Frenchay’s children’s unit to provide more toys to entertain young patients.

He will be taking part in a cycle ride from Stratton-on-the-Fosse, in Somerset, to Weymouth, which has been organised by his brother-in-law Damien McCutcheon.

Damien, who is raising money for brain injury charity Bristol Headway, added: ‘When Wren had her accident, I felt so helpless as I just didn’t know what I could do to support her, my sister and brother-in-law.’

To sponsor the team’s efforts for Headway Bristol visit www.justgiving.org.uk/ride4recovery.