A three-year-old boy from Miami who accidentally shot himself on Aug. 4 this year is now miraculously recovering and regaining control over his body, but the wheelchair he's in and the scars on his face are reminders of the day he almost lost his life.
Dorphise Jean, the mother of baby Darnal Mundy, recalled the horror of that day in August. She was sleeping when the accident happened, and was startled out of bed when she heard the sound of gunshot. She said the sound was near. The sound was from inside their bedroom.
"What I heard was a bang and I didn't feel him under me. So I already automatically know it was him," said Jean.
Jean said Darnal somehow got out of bed, climbed the chair in front of his father's dresser, opened the uppermost drawer and grabbed the gun. Little Darnal shot himself in the face.
When her husband got out of the bed, Jean said she saw her son lying on the floor, and she kept saying, "My baby, my baby." Jean said they didn't know where the bullet went through.
Her husband placed his hand at the back of Darnal's head to apply pressure. Jean grabbed her phone and car keys and drove as quickly as she could to Holtz Children's Hospital while her husband held Darnal.
Jean said Darnal was crying throughout the drive. "I just kept talking to him while driving," she said.
Dr. Sarah Jernigan, a pediatric neurosurgeon who operated on Darnal at Holtz, said Darnal had a gunshot wound to the center of his head. The bullet exited in the back left side. The kid's CAT scan revealed a massive large clot and swelling in his brain.
Doctors managed to surgically remove the left side of Darnal's skull to protect the part of the brain that was not affected by the bullet and to allow for swelling.
Jernigan said she was able to tell Darnal's parents that he survived, but she wasn't sure what kind of recovery the kid would need.
Darnal spent three weeks in a coma. He was barely responsive when he woke up, Jernigan said. The boy was transferred to Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital.
Director of rehabilitation Dr. Seema Khurana said Darnal could not talk and walk. He also couldn't sit up by himself. The boy was being fed through a tube.
Darnal receives at least three hours of therapy a day at the rehabilitation hospital. Now, he has learned how to breathe on his own again, and has slowly started walking and talking, but the right side of his body is still weak. Doctors also removed his feeding tube. They say his progress seems like a miracle.
"One nurse told me she's been here for 18 years. She said she's hardly seen children ever survive a gunshot wound to the head," said Darnal's mother.
Khurana said Darnal's case was very unusual. Nobody else has that amount of recovery, she said.
After three months, Darnal and his family are going home. Jean said they still keep the gun at the house for protection, but she and her husband are making sure that the tragedy does not happen again.
Darnal will be celebrating his 4th birthday on Nov. 14. His doctors have high hopes for his future.
"He's going to continue to make progress and ... he's going to be something very important in life because he's here with us today," added Kharana.
A fund-raising campaign has also been set-up for the little boy.