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A boy from a Victorian country town has celebrated his 13th birthday after a local GP saved his life by boring into his skull with a handyman's drill.

Without Rob Carson's quick thinking and steady nerves, Nicholas Rossi would almost certainly have died from a blood clot.

"[Dr Carson] came out and he saw us and he said he's only got one shot at it," Nicholas's father, Michael Rossi, told ABC radio.

"He said, 'I'm going to drill into Nick's head and try and relieve the pressure.'

"Dr Carson told me all he can remember saying is, 'Get the Black & Decker'."

A short time earlier, Nicholas had fallen from his bicycle without a helmet near a friend's house in Maryborough, about 170km northwest of Melbourne.

He hit his head, but seemed to be well after briefly blacking out.

But at home his mother, Karen, a registered nurse, became worried at the lump and headaches that had developed above his ear and took him to the district hospital.

There he rapidly deteriorated, slipping in and out of consciousness and suffering spasms.

Dr Carson became alarmed when he saw signs of potentially lethal internal bleeding, placed Nicholas on breathing apparatus and told his parents what was necessary.

He told them Nicholas was suffering the same condition that killed British actress Natasha Richardson after her skiing accident in Canada. They gave their consent.

"You just put your trust in doctors and medicine," Michael Rossi told the ABC.

With anaesthetist David Tynan and nursing staff, Dr Carson turned the emergency room into an operating theatre.

"They basically performed a neurosurgeon's job," Mr Rossi said.

Dr Carson found a De Walt wood drill in the hospital's maintenance room and rang Melbourne neurosurgeon David Wallace for help. Mr Wallace guided him through a procedure that could have turned disastrously wrong had the drill been pushed too far or too hard.

"Mr Wallace told me that to do this with a household drill was unbelievable," Mr Rossi said.

Dr Carson drilled into the skull below the bruising, where bleeding had formed a clot that was putting lethal pressure on Nicholas's brain, and released the clot.

Michael and Karen Rossi were outside, waiting. "[Karen] being a nurse would have known what was happening, whereas I could hear the noises ... It was a surreal event," Mr Rossi said. "We were numb for some time."

After the operation, Nicholas was flown to Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital and made a full recovery.

Mr Rossi praised Dr Carson and Dr Tynan - "the old-school doctors where you do everything."

He said Mr Wallace told him Dr Carson had saved Nicholas's life with an act of great courage.