The Short of It
A 3-year-old boy, who shot himself in the head with his parents' gun, has made a miraculous recovery and is going home.
On Aug. 4, Darnal Mundy II grabbed a gun in his parents' bedroom and accidentally shot himself in the head. His parents were told he may not survive. But after weeks of intensive therapy, the toddler is walking, talking and getting ready to return home.
Darnal's mom, Dorphise Jean, says she will never forget being awakened by the sound of a gunshot inside her bedroom. Somehow, her son had gotten out of his parents' bed, climbed a chair, opened the top drawer of his dad's dresser, grabbed their gun, and shot himself in the face.
"I just saw him laying on the ground...and I just kept saying, 'My baby, my baby,'" Jean told CNN.
She grabbed her cell phone, hopped in the car and drove as fast as she could to Holtz Children's Hospital, while Darnal's father applied pressure to the wound with his hand on the back of his son's head. "I just kept talking to him while driving," Jean said.
According to Dr. Sarah Jernigan, a University of Miami pediatric neurosurgeon who operated on Darnal, the boy had a gunshot wound to the center of his head that exited out the back left side. Doctors had to surgically remove the left side of Darnal's skull to protect the part of the brain that was untouched by the bullet.
"When I walked out of surgery and talked to his mom, I was able to tell his mom and dad that he was alive, but I wasn't sure what kind of recovery he would make," Jernigan told CNN.
Darnal spent three weeks in a coma, and when he woke up, he wasn't able to walk, talk or even sit up on his own. Now he's slowly learning to do all of the above, and his progress seems like nothing short of a miracle. He is scheduled to return home this week, more than three months after the shooting, and he will celebrate his fourth birthday on Saturday.
Sadly, incidents involving children accidentally firing guns at home are not that rare. While Jean says they will still keep a gun in the house for personal protection, they're making sure it's locked in a safe this time, out of Darnal's reach.