Doctor explains how they saved boy buried in dune

The boy who was buried in sand at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore last week is doing better.

Six-year-old Nathan Woessner’s breathing tube has been removed and he’s responding to commands, according to the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital.

The recovery is thanks, in part, to the quick thinking of emergency room doctors and nurses in Michigan City, who were among the first to treat the child.

That treatment involved some routine procedures and others which are more common on a battlefield.

“One of the first things they did when Nathan came in was to suck the sand out of his airway and then they put a breathing tube in his airway to get oxygen to his lungs,” said Dr. James Callaghan, president and CEO of Franciscan St. Anthony Health.

But then they tried something more unusual, a procedure that’s done in trauma and battlefield medicine.

“They put a line into the middle of his bone in his leg to get him fluids that way,” said Callaghan.

It worked. And within an hour Nathan was stable enough to be transported on a medical helicopter to Chicago.

“The comments we're hearing are that he's recovering and that it's possible that he could have some longer term lung issues with asthma or a possible brain abnormality such as a learning disability,” said Callaghan.

At this point they just don't know.

The team back in Indiana is keeping close tabs on the boy who tested their skills and keeps improving.

“And we're thrilled about that,” said Callaghan.