A Long Island toddler is recovering after he fell onto a toy flag that pierced his mouth and barely missed his carotid artery.
The 3-year-old, Jayden Glennerster, tripped on some toys and landed on top of a toy truck that had a small flag on the back. The plastic tip of the flag pierced the roof of his mouth.
"I was shocked and confused when I saw him," said his mother Beth Glennerster of Calverton. "I didn't know what to do, didn't know how to help him."
Glennerster says she called 911 and her neighbor, a police officer. Her first instinct was to pull out the flag, but her neighbor convinced her to leave it. They held Jayden's arms and calmed him while they waited for the ambulance.
At first they went to a hospital near Glennerster's home, but the doctor sent them to Stony Brook University Medical Center where they did a brain scan.
Dr. Mark Marzouk knew right away this was a delicate surgery.
"The smallest move, one millimeter to the right or left, could have caused him a stroke or life-threatening bleeding," he said.
It took Marzouk about an hour to remove the flag with no complications. He marveled at how Jayden was able to stay calm even though the flag had been stuck in his mouth for nine hours.
The boy was released from the hospital after 36 hours and has only one small stitch in the back of his mouth. His mother says he is back to his normal routine and has almost entirely healed.
"I will never, ever allow him to bring a flag into the house," she said. "Unless it's made of Styrofoam."