New Jersey man survives 4-inch nail in heart

A nail is shown in the chest of of Dennis Hennis before undergoing life saving cardiac surgery at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey April 6, 2012. Hennis, 52, who was revived from cardiac arrest before being airlifted for surgery, shot a 4-inch nail into his heart while trying to clear his jammed nail gun. REUTERS/Cooper University Hospital/Handout

A nail is shown in the chest of of Dennis Hennis before undergoing life saving cardiac surgery at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey April 6, 2012. Hennis, 52, who was revived from cardiac arrest before being airlifted for surgery, shot a 4-inch nail into his heart while trying to clear his jammed nail gun.

Credit: Reuters/Cooper University Hospital/Handout


Fri Apr 6, 2012 4:27pm EDT

(Reuters) – A New Jersey man who survived accidentally shooting a 4-inch ( 10-cm) nail into his heart while trying to clear a jammed nail gun said on Friday he feels like he won the lottery.

Dennis Hennis, 52, who was revived from cardiac arrest before being airlifted for surgery to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, laughed off Dr. Michael Rosenbloom’s suggestion that he buy a lottery ticket.

“I’ve already won the lottery,” said Hennis of Vineland, New Jersey, in an interview.

“I got a new grandson on my birthday on March 23 and a week later I’m almost dead. Now we can celebrate birthdays together,” he said.

Hennis, a self-employed builder, was working with his son, age 28, on a neighbor’s roof on Saturday when his nail gun jammed and he tried to clear it, mistakenly pointing it toward him.

The powerful tool was built to fire 4-inch nails at 120 pounds per square inch (8.4 kg per square cm), said hospital spokeswoman Lori Shaffer.

“It was about a foot away and it went right into my chest, right into my heart,” Hennis recalled.

The nail pierced his right ventricle, which supplies blood to the lungs, and Hennis soon went into cardiac arrest.

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