Man Survives Nail in Brain, Doctors Call Him 'Luckiest Man'

A man survives nail in brain, prompting doctors to dub him the "luckiest man."

The 58-year-old managed to survive a 3-inch nail shot into his brain accidentally from a nail gun. The nail, lodged into the brain at the perfect trajectory, did not cause any major damage to vital areas.

The injury happened when someone was shooting nails into a board above the Illinois man's head at a constructions site. The board broke.

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The nail then entered the man's skull and lodged into his brain.

"He was looking up," said Dr. Anne Hayman, a professor of neuroradiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "It went through the board, which I think must have slowed it down. Otherwise, it would have gone straight in and struck his brain stem, which would have killed him instantly."

The incident happened last year, but medical journals are again reporting on the miraculous shooting.

"I refer to him when I teach as the luckiest man I've ever encountered," said Hayman.

Hayman was one of the doctors who submitted the photo of the nail in the man's brain to the New England Journal of Medicine.

The nail shot into the man's brain at precisely the exact angle and location surgeons use to enter a brain during surgery, avoiding permanent damage and injury.

"It's like the only way that could possibly happen (without major damage)," Hayman said. "That's the actual pathway surgeons use to get to the skull base."

"A relatively small volume of injured brain from a nail may be tolerated much better than a large brain injury from a stroke or a gunshot wound or something like that," Dr. Alex Valadka, a Texas neurosurgeon who is a member of the trauma section and public relations committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

"Me banging my head against the windshield of a car going 75 mph may cause more injury," he added.

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