N.J. man survives nail shot through heart

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(CBS/AP) New Jersey man Dennis Hennis was working on his neighbor's roof last Saturday when his nail gun jammed. When the 52-year-old tried to clear the gun, he felt like someone poked him in the chest.

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It turns out the self-employed builder had accidentally shot a 3.5-inch nail into the right side of his heart.

"There was no pain, actually, but a lot of shock," Hennis, of Vineland, N.J., told ABC News from his hospital room. "I couldn't believe I had just done that."

Reuters reports Hennis' nail gun fired a nail at 120 pounds of pressure per square inch that pierced Hennis' right ventricle, which supplies blood to the lungs. Hennis told WPVI-TV in Philadelphia he needed to be resuscitated after he went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance before he was airlifted to Cooper University Hospital in Camden.

A team of cardiac and trauma surgeons repaired the damage. His surgeon Dr. Michael Rosenbloom tells the TV station that Hennis is very lucky to have survived the puncture wound to his heart.

"You're talking about a puncture wound to the heart," Rosenbloom, told WPVI-TV. "He's very lucky. There are so many things that had to take place for him to be alive."

According to ABC News, Hennis needed his heart stopped for 40 minutes to allow it to reset. "Then they shocked it back on and I'm here," he said. "I'm amazed."

Hennis is not the only man to survive a near-fatal puncture from a 3.5-inch nail. Earlier this year, an Illinois man also accidentally shot himself with a 3.5-inch nail, but the nail got lodged into his skull and brain, where the man did not notice it for more than a day, HealthPopreported. He survived.

  • CBS News Staff

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