Oak Lawn, Illinois: Dante Autullo thought his doctors were joking. The suburban Chicago man was sure he’d merely cut himself with a nail gun while building a shed. But they assured him the X-ray was real: A nail was lodged in the middle of his brain.
Autullo was recovering Friday after undergoing surgery at advocate Christ Medical Centre in Oak Lawn, where doctors removed the 3 1/4-inch (7.62 centimetre) nail. It had come with in millimeters of the part of the brain that control motor function.
“When they brought in the picture, i said to the doctor ‘Is this the joke? Did you get that out of the doctors joke file?'” the 32-year-old recalled. “The doctor said “No man, that’s in your head.””
As he was rushed by ambulance to another hospital for surgery, he posted a picture of the x-ray on Facebook.
Autullo, who lives in Orland Park, said he was building a shed Tuesday and using the nail gun above his head when he fired it, With nothing to indicate that a nail hadn’t simply whizzed by his head, his long-time companion, Gail Glaenzer, cleaned the wound with peroxide.
“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.”
While there are pain-sensitive nerves on the person’s skull, there aren’t any with in the brain itself. That’s why he would have felt the nail strike the skull, but he wouldn’t have felt it penetrate the brain.
Neither he nor Glaenzer thought much about it, and Autullo went on with his day, even ploughing a bit of snow. But the Next day when he awoke from a nap, feeling nauseated,
Glaenzer sensed something was wrong and suggested they go to the hospital.
At first Autullo refused, but he relented after the two picked up their son at school Wednesday evening.
An X-ray was taken a couple hours later. And there, seeming to float in the middle of his head, was a nail.
Atullo was rushed by ambulance to more specialized care.
“He feels good,. He moved all his limbs, he’s talking normal, he remembers everything,” Glaenzer said earlier Friday. “It’s amazing, a miracle.”
Neurosurgeon Leslie Schaffer acknowledged that Autullo’s case was unusual, but not extremely rare.
Schaffer said having a nail penetrate the skull is not like being shot in the head, noting that a bullet would break into multiple pieces.
“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 the man’s skull stopped the nail from going father into his brain.