Breckenridge, Colorado - A man is recovering in the hospital - after he accidentally hit himself in the mouth with a tool gun.
At first, he didn't think much of it. But the construction worker in Breckenridge, Colorado was in for the surprise of his life when X-rays of a minor toothache revealed a close call he never imagined.
"I'm like, what are you doing? Is this a joke?" his wife recalled saying when she saw the X-ray. "And they were like, no, no, no - there's really a nail in there!"
Twenty-three-year-old Patrick Lawler shot himself with his own nail gun - and didn't realize it for six days. The long, construction nail entered through his upper right lip and stopped itself just inside the front part of his brain - barely missing his right eye by millimeters. The X-rays he took at the dental office where his wife works show an unbelievable sight of the nail stretching from his teeth to his skull.
"The nail gun had recoiled and it must have recoiled at a high turbulence, flipped 180 degrees and somehow shot or angled the nail through the front of my lip," says Lawler. "For six days we were icing it and taking Advil, thinking I got hit real hard - like a punch. Way off!"
Initially, neither Lawler nor his doctors thought much of his toothaches and blurry vision. After he took the X-rays nearly a week after the incident, he was immediately rushed from his home down to Littleton Adventist Hospital, where the chief neurosurgeon has worked on three similar cases.
"This is the second one we've seen in this hospital where the person was injured by the nail gun and didn't actually realize the nail had been imbedded in their skull," says Dr. Sean Markey. "But it's a pretty rare injury."