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Minnesota man alive after accidentally shooting self in heart with nail gun

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A self-employed carpenter from St. Bonifacius is home from the hospital after he accidentally shot himself in the heart Friday with a nail gun, Fox 9 reports.

Eugene Rakow, 58, was building a deck for a neighbor at the time of the accident, when a 3 1/2-inch nail came within 2 millimeters of a coronary artery, nearly killing him.

The Abbott-Northwestern heart surgeon who worked on Rakow, Dr. Louis B. Louis, said the nail went through the man's heart twice and that his injury was unprecedented.

Louis told Fox 9 that Rakow's "sternum acted like a 2x4 in that it caught the nail and prevented the nail from going any deeper."

Rakow told the Star Tribune that he was leaning against a board when the accident happened, and with "the gun at an angle, chest level," it "jumped and I still had my hand on the trigger."

As a result, the nail impaled his chest. The design of the nail reportedly was a factor in saving the man's life.

Rakow, a married father of seven, does not have health insurance, Fox 9 reports. He has been told not to do any heavy lifting for months.

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