A Minnesota man defied the odds, surviving an accident where he was shot in the heart with a nail gun -- an incident doctors said nine out of 10 would have died from.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that 58-year-old Eugene Rakow, a self-employed carpenter, was working on a neighbor's deck in St. Bonifacius Friday when as he leaned against a board with the gun, finger on the trigger, and accidentally shot himself.
"It impaled the nail in my chest," Rakow told the Tribune.
The X-ray showing the nail in Rakow's heart. (Image source: Abbott Northwestern Hospital via Minneapolis Star Tribune)
"The surgeon said most people die right there," he said.
Abbot Northwestern Hospital Spokeswoman Gloria O'Connell said the nail was just two millimeters from his coronary artery.
“The sternum also acted as a 2-by-4 and stopped the nail from going in deeper than it did,” she said, adding that the surgeon put two stitches in the man's heart.
Rakow recalled what it felt like, saying it didn't hurt as much as you might think.
"Your body kind of goes into shock. … I could feel it gurgle a little, crunch a little. I knew it wasn’t good," he said, according to the Tribune.
A nail like this one was removed from the 58-year-old father's heart, just barely missing critical structures. (Image source: Rakow family via Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Rakow actually ran to his truck and called his wife after the accident. She drove him to a local hospital, and he was later transferred to Abbott where he had surgery.
Just a couple days later, Rakow was home and recovering in time for his daughter's 20th birthday.
Eugene Rakow was at home recovering this week after the harrowing ordeal. (Image source: KARE video screenshot)
"I have a good testimony saying that the Lord saved me, saved my life and that it's His doing," Rakow told KARE-TV. "Nail could of went any direction and we could be at a funeral."
KARE reported that Rakow did not have health insurance and will be out of work as he recovers over the next six months. His family is thinking of different things they can do to earn money to pay for the medical expenses.
Watch KARE's report about Rakow's amazing survival story: