A 6-year-old girl was recovering at a Houston hospital Friday because firefighters and teachers did not try to remove the No. 2 pencil that pierced her heart in a freak fall, doctors said.
Surgeons at Ben Taub General Hospital removed the pencil after the Thursday afternoon accident at Youens Elementary School, in far southwest Houston.
Dr. Todd Maxson, a pediatric trauma surgeon, credited teachers and the Houston Fire Department with saving Destiny Lopez’s life, saying the girl likely would have bled to death had they removed the pencil.
“The pencil is the proverbial finger in the dike,” Maxson said. “This is an amazingly brave young lady.”
Destiny was turning in papers to her teacher at 2:20 p.m. Thursday when she tripped and fell on her pencil, which pierced the right ventricle of her heart.
The girl’s mother, working across the street in another school district building, rushed to the scene to help teachers comfort the girl.
“I lost it,” the mother, Victoria Cereceres, said.
The pencil was buried 3 inches in the little girl’s chest. Doctors performed open-heart surgery, slightly raising the organ, removing the pencil and repairing the hole with three stitches.
She was in serious but stable condition Friday and was expected to be discharged in one to two weeks.