A Minnesota man accidentally shot a nail into his heart and he miraculously lived to talk about it today. Self-employed carpenter, Eugene Rakow, was building a deck for his neighbor when the nail gun went off and fired a three-and-a-half inch nail in his chest, according to Fox New on Oct. 3.
Rakow said as soon as it hit him he knew he was in trouble. He thought to himself, “man I gotta get some place and get help, fast.” Instead of calling 911, he opted to have his wife Carmen drive him to Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.
Dr. Louis Louis, a heart surgeon, said that the nail actually entered Rakow’s heart twice, but because of the design of the nail and “a little bit of luck” he was able to be saved.
"The sternum acted like a 2x4 in that it caught the nail and prevented the nail from going any deeper," Louis said.
The nail was stopped just two millimeters from the coronary artery. If the nail had punctured that artery, Rakow would probably have died instantly.
"Once we were able to get a hold of it, we were able to work it out very carefully and then it was a simple two stitches to repair the injury in the heart," Louis said.
Nail guns are a tool that bring efficiency and convenience to most any construction job, but they're also a tool that is seen in a lot of accidents, according to ENR.com. The emergency rooms around the country see many nails protruding out of hands and feet from a nail gun accident.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 37,000 people each year are treated for nail-gun injuries. A nail in the foot or in the hand is the most common for nail gun accidents.
Rakow, the father of seven children, is currently recuperating at home with his wife and large brood of kids. A benefit fund has been set up for the family while Rakow's heart mends from this injury.