‘It didn’t really hurt’: Man accidentally shoots nail into his heart — and lives

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PESHTIGO, Wis. -- A Wisconsin man miraculously lived after he accidentally shot a 3 1/2-inch nail into his heart.

Dough Bergeson was framing a fireplace for a home he's building when the nail gun went off, WBAY reports.

"I was just bringing the nail gun forward, and I was on my tip-toes. I just didn't quite have enough room, and it fired before I was really ready for it, and then it dropped down and fired again," Bergeson said.

The nail traveled straight into his heart with the speed of a .22-caliber bullet.

At first, Bergeson said, "it didn't really hurt," and thought the nail just nicked him.

Then he looked down and saw it.

Not wanting to bother anyone, Bergeson didn't call 911 or his wife, who was at church -- and drove himself 12 miles to the emergency room.

By the time he got to the hospital, Bergeson was starting to hurt.

Bergeson needed open-heart surgery, so hospital staff rushed him a cardiothoracic surgeon at another local hospital.

“A wrong heartbeat, a wrong position, and he would have had a much more complicated problem than he was bargaining for. So, he's quite fortunate from that standpoint,” said Dr. Alexander Roitstein.

The nail missed a main artery in Bergeson’s heart by the thickness of a piece of paper.