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Man shoots himself in the heart with a nail gun, washes up and drives to the hospital

Doug Bergeson -- and the nail he shot himself with.
Doug Bergeson -- and the nail he shot himself with. Screen grab from Twitter

A Wisconsin man has lived to tell the story of how one day he was using a nail gun and accidentally shot himself in the heart.

This cautionary tale has a happy ending and a weird plot twist: He drove himself to the emergency room.

The lucky/unlucky soul is Doug Bergeson of Peshtigo, Wisc., who recently shared the story with WBAY TV.

About seven weeks ago while his wife was at church, Bergeson got busy framing up a fireplace in the house he and his family are building.

“I was just bringing the nail gun forward and I was on my tip-toes and I just didn’t quite have enough room, and it fired before I was really ready for it, and then it dropped down and it fired again,” Bergeson told the TV station.

With bullet-like speed, a 3 1/2-inch framing nail plunged into his heart.

Bergeson says “it didn’t really hurt,” and he thought the nail just nicked him. Then he saw that only about an inch of 3 1/2 inch nail was sticking out of his chest, The AP reported.

“That’s not good,” he thought.

He could see it moving with every beat of his heart.

“I’m not going to get anything done today,” he thought.

Bergeson says he washed up and calmly drove about 12 miles to a hospital, The AP reported.

“It seemed like the thing to do,” Bergeson told the TV station. “I felt fine, other than having a little too much iron in my diet.”

He was texting his wife when doctors started working on him. When they finally spoke, he told her he needed a new shirt.

He was rushed to another hospital for heart surgery.

Bergeson didn’t remove the nail because he remembered “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, who died in 2006 after a stingray stung him. Initial reports, later refuted, claimed he died from loss of blood because he pulled the barb out of his chest.

“A wrong heart beat, a wrong position and he would have had a much more complicated problem than he was bargaining for,” cardiothoracic surgeon Alexander Roitstein told the TV station.

Bergeson, who is back on his feet now, said the nail missed a main artery by the thickness of a piece of paper.

He shared his story publicly to warn others to be careful using nail guns.

He has a scar to show what can happen when you’re not.

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