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Carpenter Nailed By His Own Gun

By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

NEW HOPE, Minn. (WCCO) -- Mark Johnson has been swinging hammers and zipping through wood for the past 10 years. He runs his own contracting business that brings him into a lot of basements. Johnson's specialty is installing egress windows, required by building codes in all basement bedrooms.

Late Friday afternoon, Johnson was helping a friend install a stud wall in a basement when he came to the last couple of studs. But suddenly, a simple job turned into a real pain.

Johnson was using a large pneumatic framing nailer, which uses the force of 100 pounds of air pressure, to quickly and efficiently drive large nails into wood. He was down on his knees, holding the stud in his right hand and the air gun in his left.

"When it brushed my leg ... it hooked onto the pant leg and my finger grabbed (the trigger) and it went bam," explained Johnson.

As soon as Johnson glanced down at his left leg, he quickly noticed the three-and-a-quarter-inch nail buried into the muscle just above the knee.

"Yeah, it's one of the hazards of the job," Johnson said matter-of-factly.

With the nail still lodged in his leg and dripping blood, Johnson's friend rushed him to the emergency room at Methodist Hospital where a team of nurses and a doctor went to work.

An X-ray image of the wound showed just how close the nail came to piercing his femur. That would have been more serious and far, far more painful.

As it stands, Johnson said the pain wasn't that bad. In fact, he said the shot of pain killer prior to the removal procedure hurt more than the accident itself.

"I was surprised the next morning it was just felt like I went on a long bike ride or something. Like I got a sore leg, but it's just fine," he said.

When the medical team pulled the nail out, Johnson said it took a bit more patience and a lot more finesse.

When the doctor finally had it out, Johnson turned to him and said with laughter, "Hey, that's my nail!"

Johnson will hold onto it as a small memento of the freakish accident -- and a reminder of the time he got just a little bit too attached to his work.

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