A UC San Diego neurosurgeon says it would take about an hour to remove that .25 caliber bullet that's lodged in Mike Meredith's neck.
The Point Loma-based fisherman was shot during a robbery in Cabo San Lucas last week while visiting the Mexican resort town for the annual sport fishing event, the "Bisbee Black & Blue Tournament."
Meredith was walking alone to his hotel room on Tuesday after eating at a restaurant when he was attacked and robbed. The thief walked up to him with a gun and demanded his wallet but Meredith didn't want to hand over the entire wallet.
”I wanted my ID more than anything else. You can have my money but you’re not getting my ID. I may die here but somebody is going to know where I came from; who I am,” Meredith said.
As he was pulling the wallet out of his pocket, the thief fired one shot into his shoulder. He said that when he hesitated about handing over his ID, the robber fired a second shot that went through his neck.
Meredith said he didn't feel either shot so he didn't realize he was hurt until he saw blood squirting out of his neck.
One bullet went through his shoulder. Another bullet bounced off his jawbone and somehow wedged in the other side of his neck.
“Somehow this bullet has wedged somewhere near the spinal cord but not enough to do any damage,” he said.
Neurosurgeon Joseph Ciacci, M.D. said Meredith is extremely lucky to be alive, because the bullet is so close to his carotid artery and his spinal cord.
In an exclusive interview with NBC San Diego,Ciacci said the surgery involves removing the bullet, repairing any damage done to Meredith's throat, neck, spine and blood vessels, and cleaning to area to prevent infection.
Meredith returned from Cabo Tuesday, flying into San Diego. He walked into the terminal with his bags on a cart and a sling on his arm.Ciacci plans to examine Meredith Wednesday afternoon.
He said there's a possibility that he and Meredith might decide not to remove the bullet because it has not harmed any vital organs and will be surrounded by scar tissue, which will prevent it from moving.
Police found two bullet casings from a .25 gun at the scene according to Meredith. The thief got away with Meredith's money but Meredith is glad to be alive.
“All I’ve got to say is God is good. He saved me on this one,” Merdith said in a phone interview from his hospital bed last week.
San Diegans travel to Cabo San Lucas to vacation all the time because they consider it a safe part of Mexico. Meredith said despite his attack, he would return to Cabo in the future. “It’s a beautiful place,” he said. “People here are nice.”
Meredith, who goes by the nick name "Kona", is a deckhand on the San Diego-based charter boat, "The Intrepid."