Man Accidentally Shoots Himself In Heart, Drives Himself 12 Miles To Hospital And Walks Inside

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

By Benjamin H. Smith

A Wisconsin man is still recovering from a home improvement mishap which almost took his life, according to NBC26 in Green Bay.  Doug Bergeson, 52, was working on his fireplace when a nail he shot out of his nail gun ricocheted off the wood and into his chest. "I could see the nail moving with my heartbeat. It was kind of twitching with every heartbeat," he said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Bergeson, who works in construction, didn’t initially feel the nail go into his body. "It didn't really hurt. It just felt like it kind of stung me, he told Green Bay’s WBAY. “And I looked down and I didn't see anything and I put my hand there and... That's not good." What he felt was only 1 inch of the 3.5-inch nail sticking out of his chest, but rather than panic, Bergeson was mostly annoyed that his workday was now ruined.

The ever stoic Mid Westerner, Bergeson didn’t bother calling 911 but instead got into his truck and drove himself 12 miles to the nearest hospital. "It seemed like the thing to do!,” he told WBAY, jokingly adding, “I felt fine, other than having a little too much iron in my diet."

Recalling the the death of "Crocodile Hunter" star Steve Irwin, who bled to death after a stingray barb punctured his heart, he wisely decided not to remove the nail himself, a decision doctors credit with saving his life.

On his way to the emergency room, Bergeson’s pain started to increase. After parking his truck and walking inside, he told a security guard, “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." After being X-Rayed, Bergeson was taken by ambulance to Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay. "I offered to drive myself, but they wouldn't let me," he says.

Doctors confirm the nail did hit Bergeson’s heart, and was 1/16 of an inch from a major artery, but that the wound has since closed up. Bergeson spent two days in the hospital and has been recouping ever since but is ready to get back to work. As for his near-death experience, he says, "Must have had somebody watching over me, because it was close."

[Photo: Donna Bergeson] 

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