A mountain biker in New Mexico who was impaled in the neck by a tree branch has managed to avoid serious injury -- even after riding his bike 20 miles to the nearest hospital.
The unidentified biker suffered injury when he fell off his bike and was impaled in the neck by a two-centimeter-wide branch, the New England Journal of Medicine reports.
Despite the painful impalement, the biker managed to get into a car and ride 20 miles to the University of New Mexico for treatment
According to a CT scan, the branch extended about 1.6 centimeters into the patient's neck.
Amazingly, the branch didn't cause serious damage to the patient's nerves, airway or major blood vessel, according to Dr. Lev Deriy, an assistant professor and anesthesiologist at the University of New Mexico, who treated the patient.
"The neck contains a lot of very important, vital structures," Deriy told Live Science, adding the biker was "lucky not to damage anything."
The branch was removed from the patient's neck and the resulting wound was explored, irrigated, and closed, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
The patient was released with no complications, according to WHIO.com.
Deriy said the patient's reaction after the injury was commendable.
"If you have something like that happen, it’s a good idea not to touch [the] foreign body," Deriy said.
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