It happened so fast. Mackenzie "Mick" Caron was driving a friend home from a hockey game back in January, when he lost control of his car. "We hit a patch of black ice, and the car went off the road and tumbled eight times," he tells WQOW-18 TV in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. "I was thrown like 150 feet from the car, landed on my head." He wasn't wearing a seatbelt.
Mick was taken by ambulance to a local hospital and then airlifted to the Level II Trauma Center at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, where he arrived "in a coma facing life-threatening head injuries." His initial neurological exam was not promising. "When I first saw him … he had a little bit of movement but not much, and his CT scan was very worrisome," T.K. Schiefer, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, tells the Hometown Health blog.
Still, Dr. Schiefer and his team were ready to do whatever they could to keep Mick's condition from getting worse. "We took him to the operating room right away, and I was able to talk to his parents right before," Dr. Schiefer says. "I told them the nature of the operation and that it could be a lifesaving procedure." Dr. Schiefer performed a hemicraniectomy, a procedure that removed half of Mick's skull to "relieve some of the pressure" building up in his brain and to also keep his brain from shifting. "We knew that this could save his life," Dr. Schiefer tells Hometown Health, "but we didn't know what kind of life that would be."
As it turns out, the rest of the story is something of a miracle. Following a month of recovery at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire that included more surgeries to "remove excess fluid and further reduce pressure," Hometown Health reports Mick is "back to almost all normal activities." He was able to graduate with his high school class last spring, and he just started classes at the University of Minnesota, where he tells WQOW-18 TV he plans to study biomedical engineering. The accident helped him decide that he wants "to help other people who have had similar injuries," he says.
If anyone can do that, his parents say it's "Miracle Mick." And it's all thanks to his care team, they say. "The nurses and staff at Mayo were wonderful," Mick's father, John Caron, says. Sara Caron, his mom, adds, "We had a really good trauma doctor right away that first night, and Dr. Schiefer's a really good surgeon … Twenty-four hours a day they were there for him."