This man accidentally shot himself in the heart with a nail gun — then drove himself 12 miles to hospital with it still sticking out of his chest

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Doug Bergeson laying in a hospital bed with the nail sticking out of his heart.
source
WBAY TV-2

An American farmer accidentally shot himself in the heart with a nail gun – and not only survived, but stayed calm enough to drive himself 12 miles to the hospital.

Doug Bergeson

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Doug Bergeson.
source
WBAY TV-2

Doug Bergeson, 52, was building a new fireplace at a house in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, when his nail gun went at the wrong moment. It sent a three-and-a-half-inch nail ricocheting into his heart, according to local news network WBAY-TV.

He described how he was standing on tiptoes, reaching around a wooden frame while holding the gun, and pulled the trigger by mistake.

Two nails fired out of the gun, one of which bounced off of a surface and into his chest. Here’s how it worked:

Bergeson nail trajectory

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The nail’s trajectory as Bergeson described.
source
WBAY TV-2

Describing the accident, which happened in late June but was first reported this week, Bergeson told WBAY: “It didn’t really hurt. It just felt like it kind of stung me.

“I looked down and I didn’t see anything and I put my hand there and… That’s not good.” He told WBAY that he could see the nail pulsing in time with his heartbeat.

He didn’t remove the nail because he “remembered Steve Irwin,” the Australian conservationist who was stabbed in the heart by a stingray 11 years ago, his doctor Alexander Roitstein said. He was “very astute not to remove it.”

Doug Bergeson nail

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The nail that was embedded in Bergeson’s heart.
source
WBAY TV-2

Instead of calling 911, Bergeson drove 12 miles to the emergency room in a neighbouring city by himself because it “seemed like the thing to do,” he recalled.

“I felt fine, other than having a little too much iron in my diet,” he joked.

He continued: “I just leaned over the security guard and said, ‘I’ve got a nail in my chest. It’d be great if you can find somebody to help me out here. I’m just going to sit down.'”

He also said he texted his wife, Donna, who had been at church.

He wanted to write “I’m at the ER,” but the message auto-corrected on his phone to “I’m at the we,” and she didn’t know what it meant.

Doctors at the Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette were less calm about it, and rushed him to another hospital the neighbouring town of Aurora, where he had open heart surgery.

The nail had missed a main artery by around a tenth of a millimeter, Bergeson said. Had it pierced the artery, he would likely have died in a few minutes.

When Bergeson spoke to his wife after the surgery, he said he was fine but needed a new shirt.

“I got the ‘What did you do?'” Bergeson recalled. “Just shrugged my shoulders and said, ‘oops.'”