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Boy Whose Skull Was Reattached to Spine Goes Home

June 24, 1989

PHOENIX (AP) _ A ″miracle child″ who survived an accident in which his skull was pulled from his spine left the hospital Friday, two months after an operation to reattach the two saved his life.

Timothy Mathias, 10, was struck by a pickup truck and dragged 15 feet on April 26. Doctors had feared the boy would be paralyzed.

But Timothy can walk with the help of a walker and is expected to walk unimpaired in a few months. He left St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in a wheelchair.

″He was really excited to be leaving,″ said Barrow Neurological Institute spokeswoman Deborah Gelbart.

The five-hour operation in April was complicated by a huge blood clot at the base of the brain. Surgeons drained the clot and implanted a metal clamp reconnecting Timothy’s spine and skull.

One of the doctors who treated the boy, Robert Spetzler of the Barrow Neurological Institute, said in April that that Timothy was ″an absolute miracle child″ and that ″by all rights he should be dead.″

Timothy will wear a ″halo″ brace to keep his head and neck in alignment for another three weeks to a month, doctors said. His neck movement will be limited permanently to about 50 percent of normal because of the clamp.

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