A 9-year-old D.C. boy who was shot in the head just five weeks ago is already playing basketball from his hospital bed, while nurses and doctors call his survival a miracle.
Jaydan Stancil, 9, was shot in the parking lot of Mayfair Mansions apartments Oct. 3, right next to a neighborhood playground — an unintended victim of an exchange of gunfire. A responding D.C. officer cradled Jaydan and drove him to a hospital in his police car.
"It's unbelievable," his mother Monique Nichols said. "People say it's a miracle. They call him the miracle baby."
Doctors had told Nichols that Jaydan wasn't likely to survive.
Mom of Boy Shot in Head Pleads for Justice
"[They said he's] not gonna make it, [that he had] about 35 to 40 minutes to live," Nichols said. "I thought I was going to lose my youngest son."
Dr. John Myseros, chief of neurosugery at Children's National Medical Center, operated on Jaydan, but hadn't thought the boy's chances were good.
"I thought he was going to die. Everybody did," Dr. Myseros said. "The bullet went through the bone, dragging the bone with it into the brain. It went up, ricocheted off the top and went down."
Feeling scared beyond words, Nichols said she started praying for her son's health.
“I just started praying: 'God, please don’t take my son from me. I will take care of him, I will bathe him, I will feed him. Just don’t take my son from me!'" she said.
Suddenly, Jaydan's hand moved, though his brain was swelling. Doctors opened up Jaydan's skull, and he was able to pull through, partially due to his age and partially due to the location of the bullet -- which stayed on the right side of his brain.
"If I had this injury, I would be much worse off than he is. Why is that? His brain is still developing; it’s still plastic, so to speak," Dr. Myseros explained. "If a bullet crosses the midline -- goes from left to right or right to left -- the mortality is a bit higher."
Though Nichols is ecstatic her son is on the mend, she said she's terrified to return home to Mayfair Mansions. She's been living at the hospital almost 24 hours a day since the shooting. No one's been arrested for the crime.
Nichols and the rest of Jaydan's family have set up a GoFundMe page online to help the little boy heal.
"I need help. I need a lot of help right now. With the bill, and the care for Jaydan..." Nichols said.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call police at 202-727-9099.