A Green Bay, Wisconsin man is lucky to be alive after his incredibly close encounter with death.
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Doug Bergeson said he was working on a house he's building when his nail gun accidentally fired, sending a nail into his chest.
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"I thought it just nicked me. I looked down. I couldn't see anything," Bergeson said in an interview Tuesday. "I felt OK. I wasn't worried about the injury. I couldn't feel any pressure or blood building up."
The 52 year old Bergeson says that he began to pull at his sweatshirt when he realized that only about 1 inch of the 3 inch long nail was protruding out of his chest.
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"I could see the nail moving with my heartbeat. It was kind of twitching with every heartbeat," Bergeson said.
He claims he was more annoyed than worried. He knew he had to go to the Emergency Room but he also wanted to finish the job he was working on.
"I was frustrated because I knew I wasn't going to get home until late and I couldn't get anything done," Bergeson said, adding that "common sense" told him not to pull the nail out.
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So Bergeson cleaned himself up and then jumped into his truck and made his way back to the Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette, which is about 10 minutes away.
He says that's when he parked his truck and walking into the Emergency Room. Bergeson said he started to feel increased pain around that time and summoned a security guard for help.
"If you could find someone that would be great, I'm just going to sit down," he told the guard.
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As Bergeson sat there he thought he would receive minor treatment and then be on his way home, so he texted his wife, Donna, to bring him a new shirt because the emergency medical staff had cut off the one he was wearing.
Unfortunately for Bergeson though once X-rays were taken, he was then rushed by ambulance to Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay.
"I offered to drive myself, but they wouldn't let me," Bergeson said, laughing.
Upon arrival at Aurora, Dr. Alexander Roitstein confirmed that the nail hit Bergeson's heart.
Dr. Roitstein said it was also 1/16 of an inch away from rupturing a major artery. The doctor said it was difficult to assess exactly how deep the nail penetrated into Bergeson’s heart, but the nail left bruising and a small hole.
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He said that Bergeson did the right thing for not pulling the nail out of his heart and letting doctors handle it. "It shows the great composure this gentleman had after a very bad day's experience," Roitstein said on Tuesday.
After two days spent in the hospital, Bergeson has been recovering at home since the accident.
He says he's fortunate to be able to return to work this week at the Village of Lena waterworks plant, and that he also has a vegetable farm and construction repair business.
"I feel pretty good. I'm back to doing things carefully," he said. "It was a pretty awakening experience."
A strange accident that fortunately he was able to survive, if not by the grace of God, and maybe some good luck.
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