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Published December 10, 2013, 08:49 AM

Bismarck boy shot in eye while hunting is recovering

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A 14-year-old Bismarck boy who was shot in the eye by a family friend while they were pheasant hunting will be able to celebrate his birthday and Christmas at home with his family.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A 14-year-old Bismarck boy who was shot in the eye by a family friend while they were pheasant hunting will be able to celebrate his birthday and Christmas at home with his family.

Kaelan Macdonald and his family spent three weeks, including Thanksgiving, in a hospital in St. Paul, Minn., after the incident last month. Father Russell Macdonald said he and his son were deer hunting with two others Nov. 14 southeast of Bismarck when Kaelan was accidentally shot.

"I can't even explain the feeling of helplessness," he told The Bismarck Tribune.

Kaelan said he "didn't want to believe" he had been shot, and his father said his son was nonchalant about the injury and wanted to keep hunting. The serious nature of the injury became apparent later, at a Bismarck hospital, when Kaelan had trouble speaking and moving his right arm and leg.

"I kept thinking what it would be like if I couldn't walk or even talk to my family," the Bismarck High School wrestler and football player said.

He was transferred to the St. Paul hospital, where he underwent a six-hour operation to prevent a massive stroke. It was conducted by a team of doctors including Eric Nussbaum, a neurosurgeon at United Hospital's John Nasseff Neuroscience Institute, and Patrick Graupman, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Gillette Children's Hospital.

"It was a very challenging situation," Nussbaum said. "You can't open up a textbook and find out what to do."

The procedure was successful, and though the shotgun pellet remains in Kaelan's brain, he was released from the hospital Friday. He can now celebrate his birthday this coming Sunday, as well as Christmas, at home with his family.

"I will be forever grateful to all of the doctors, nurses and everyone," Kaelan said. "I'm kind of sick of this ... but it's all going to be good."

Russell Macdonald said he is thankful that his son's story did not have a tragic ending.

"I really think we saw a miracle that day," he said.

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