Man survives nail brain
Dante Autullo of Chicago thought doctors were joking, feeling sure he had only been grazed by the nail when it flew past as he was building a shed. Even when hospital medics produced an X-ray he was sceptical.
"When they brought in the picture, I said to the doctor 'Is this a joke? Did you get that out of the doctors joke file?'" the 32-year-old said. "The doctor said 'No man, that's in your head.'"
His companion, Gail Glaenzer, bathed what looked like a flesh wound after Autullo misfired the gun. He went on with his work, did some snow plowing and only agreed to go to hospital the next day after waking up feeling nauseated.
Autullo had surgery at Advocate Christ medical centre in Oak Lawn, where doctors removed the 3 1/4-inch (7.62cm) nail. It had come within millimetres of the part of the brain that controls motor function.
As he was rushed by ambulance to another hospital for surgery, he posted a picture of the X-ray on Facebook.
"It really felt like I got punched on the side of the head," he said, adding that he continued working. "I thought it went past my ear."
There are pain-sensitive nerves on the skull but none within the brain itself – so Autello only felt like he had been hit in the head.
"He feels good. He moved all his limbs, he's talking normal, he remembers everything," Glaenzer said. "It's amazing, a miracle."
Autullo's neurosurgeon, Leslie Schaffer, said the case was unusual but not extremely rare.
A nail did not go in like a bullet, which would break into multiple pieces, he said.
"This (the nail) is thinner, with a small trajectory, and pointed at the end," he said. "The bone doesn't fracture much because the nail has a small tip."
Schaffer said Autollo's skull slowed down the nail, which was removed by making holes on either side of its entry point and pulling it out along with a piece of the skull.
The hole was covered with titanium mesh after the two-hour operation, hospital spokesman Mike Maggio said.
Lucky: Mr Autullo, 32, has four children with his fiancée and is said to be recovering nicely
Mr Autullo is reportedly doing well after surgery, and is talking and able to move parts of his body though he still remains in hospital.
'He's in the damn hospital yelling that there's a big snowstorm tomorrow and how's he going to plow?
'This from a guy who just got his brain cut open,' Ms Glaezner told the Naperville Sun newspaper.
She also added that there was one final scare before surgery: Mr Autullo's brother fainted in the hospital as the doctor were discussing the possible side effects of the operation.
'Between the two of them, (they) almost killed me,' she told The Chicago Tribune.
Relieved: Mr Autullo's fiancée Gail Glaenzer initially checked his head and thought it was just a light graze because there was no real cut.