MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A North Dakota teen’s father calls it a miracle that his son survived — and is doing so well — after being shot in the eye in a hunting accident.

On Monday, Russell MacDonald and his 14-year-old son, Kaelin, spoke about the frightening accident and the surgery that saved the young hunter’s life.

On Nov. 17, Kaelin was accidentally shot by a family friend while pheasant hunting. Russ rushed over to Kaelin and saw a shotgun pellet had hit him in the face.

“The other gentleman to the right of me yelled, ‘Kaelin is down,'” Russ said. “I can’t explain the helplessness a person feels. I never felt like that before.”

Kaelin was rushed to a hospital near Bismarck where he became partially paralyzed and was unable to speak.

“I was trying to tell the nurses I can’t talk and I can’t move the right side of my body,” Kaelin said. “It was definitely the scariest moment when I could not move.”

He was then flown to the Twin Cities where doctors at United Hospital determined the pellet in his brain was disrupting critical blood flow.

Dr. Eric Nussbaum performed the delicate surgery rerouting a critical brain artery by-passing the shotgun pellet, which surgeons left in Kaelin’s brain.

Russ and Kaelin say they will be forever grateful to the team of doctors at United Hospital in St. Paul who performed the rare surgery. Kaelin is already almost back to normal.

Kaelin can take off the eye-patch, which helps him deal with double vision, which his team of doctors believes will eventually go away.

“I am extremely grateful to Nussbaum and Graupman for helping me I can talk to you guys,” Kaelin said.

Russ says he and Kaelin will do everything they can in the future to promote hunting safety. They are on their way back home right now.

Kaelin says he is bummed that doctors have told him he can’t snowboard or wrestle this winter. His dad said considering everything that is a small price to pay.


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