Nurse, the Black & Decker...

A country GP in small-town Australia saved a boy's life by using a household power drill to bore into his skull after he fell off his bicycle and suffered a serious head injury. Nick Rossi, 12, was brought to the local hospital in Maryborough, Victoria, by his parents, after he complained of a headache.



Rob Carson, who was on duty, quickly realised the boy had potentially fatal bleeding on the brain. With no neurological instruments available in the small hospital, he sent for a handyman's drill from the maintenance room.

A neurosurgeon in Melbourne then talked Dr Carson through the procedure by telephone. Dr Carson told Nick's parents, who were waiting anxiously: "I've got one shot at this, and one shot only. I'm going to drill into Nick's head and try to relieve the pressure [on the brain]." Afterwards he told the boy's father, Michael Rossi, that all he could remember saying at the time was "Get the Black & Decker".

In the event, it turned out to be a |De Walt drill that Dr Carson used to bore into Nick's skull and release a blood clot. David Tynan, the anaesthetist who was tasked with overseeing events in the hospital's emergency room, said yesterday: "It was pretty scary. You obviously worry, are you pushing hard enough or pushing too hard, but then when some blood came out after we'd gone through the skull, we realised we'd made the right decision."

The injury was similar to the one suffered by the actress Natasha Richardson, who died in March after failing to get immediate medical attention following a fall on a Canadian ski slope.

Nick Rossi, who has since made a full recovery, fell off his bicycle last Friday while riding without a helmet in a quiet road near a friend's house. He hit his head on the pavement and passed out briefly, but then seemed fine.

However, his mother, Karen, a nurse, decided to take him to hospital after discovering a lump behind his ear. Once in hospital, the boy began to deteriorate, suffering breathing difficulties and drifting in and out of consciousness. Dr Carson noticed that one of his pupils was bigger than the other, a tell-tale sign of a bloodclot, and realised he had only minutes to make a hole in his skull and relieve the pressure on his brain. The neurosurgeon, David Wallace, explained to him where to aim the drill and how deep to go.

"All of a sudden the emergency ward was turned into an operating theatre," Mr Rossi told local radio yesterday. "We didn't see anything, but we heard the noises, heard the drill. It was just one of those surreal experiences."

The procedure took just over a minute, after which Nick was airlifted to a children's hospital in Melbourne, 100 miles away. He was discharged on Tuesday, his 13th birthday.

Dr Carson remained modest about his role in the procedure. He told The Australian newspaper: "If you are in that situation, you just do those things. It is just part of the job and I had a very good team of people helping me."

But Dr Wallace, the neurosurgeon, said it had taken incredible guts and skill. "He later told me that what Dr Carson did was extremely brave," Mr Rossi said. "To have done that with a household drill … he said it was unbelievable." Nick's father added: "He saved our son's life."

In a short break after delivering a baby yesterday, Dr Carson told local radio: "The actual procedure itself was not as terrifying as the possible outcome if I didn't do it."

He agreed that it was probably "one of the highlights" of his career in country hospitals.

Suggested Topics
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor