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Minnesota Carpenter Survives Nail Gun Shot to the Heart

1957 Views 7 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Patrick
St. Bonifacius carpenter pierces heart with nail gun, survives

A worker accidentally shot himself in the heart with a nail gun, survived and was back home with his west metro family just a few days later.

A self-employed carpenter in the west metro beat long odds after accidentally shooting himself in the heart with a nail gun and was back home just a few days later to celebrate the birthday of one of his seven children.

“The surgeon said most people die right there,” said Eugene Rakow, 58, of St. Bonifacius. “He said nine out of 10 won’t make it.”

Rakow was building a deck for a neighbor Friday when the 3 1/2-inch nail pierced his chest and came with 2 millimeters of a coronary artery, said Allina’s Gloria O’Connell, a spokeswoman for Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, where he was treated.

The doctor who performed the surgery, Louis B. Louis, said, “This nail went through the front and the back of his heart, barely missing critical structures. I’m very pleased his post-operative courts has been so uncomplicated.”

Following surgery to remove the nail, Rakow checked out of Abbott on Monday afternoon and looking forwarding to celebrating the 20th birthday of daughter Laura at the home where he lives with his wife, Carmen, and all the kids.

“I was leaning against a board with the gun,” Rakow said. “I had the gun at an angle, chest level, and it jumped and I still had my hand on the trigger. It impaled the nail in my chest.”

At first, Rakow recalled, the injury didn’t hurt “that bad. Your body kind of goes into shock. … I could feel it gurgle a little, crunch a little. I knew it wasn’t good.”

Rakow ran to his truck and got his wife on the phone. She drove him to nearby Waconia Hospital, then he was transferred to Hennepin County Medical Center before ending up at Abbott that night and for the duration of his treatment. Now, he’s out of work for several months as he recovers.

Following surgery, he was given the nail as a reminder of how close he came to missing Laura’s birthday and many others in his family.

The doctor said Rakow “was extremely lucky, first that he was able to get to a hospital and second that the nail missed the coronary artery by about 2 millimeters twice — going in and going out,” O’Connell said.

“The sternum also acted as a 2-by-4 and stopped the nail from going in deeper than it did,” she added. “In the end, [the doctor] put two stitches in the heart.”

This is one lucky dude!
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I try to imagine how bad things can happen when I am working. Try to maintain a safe approach to situations that can lead to accidents.

But, I know things can happen anyway. Like when somebody trips and stumbles. It happens in an instant.

The guy was unlucky followed by really lucky. That's one way to look at it anyway.
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I worked on several jobs with this guy many years well as the guy who accidentally nailed him. 3" nail buried in his skull and no permanent brain damage.
My brother-in-law was a nurse at a small hospital when I guy came in and he had nailed his Johnson to his thigh:eek:.

I would rather take it in the heart.:laughing:
:eek: I tell all my guys treat that nail gun like a real gun, never point up or towards any one, But how do these things happen ?. All my guns have a safety!, I am lost on how to shoot my self in the chest or my man hood into my leg?.:sad:
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Reactions: 1 heres a safety vid for ya
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