Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/04/24/portland_headcase/

Docs find 12 nails in man's skull

Complained of headache

By Lester Haines

Posted in Science, 24th April 2006 15:34 GMT

Doctors in a Portland hospital were rather surprised when they examined a man who turned up on their doorstep complaining of a headache, only to find he had twelve nails embedded in his skull courtesy of a failed suicide attempt with a nail gun, AP reports.

The unnamed 33-year-old was "suicidal and high on methamphetamine" when he attempted to nail himself into the grave last year. Docs didn't at first spot any outward signs of the extra metal, but a subsequent X-ray revealed "six nails clustered between his right eye and ear, two below his right ear and four on the left side of his head".

Although the nails - up to two inches long - skirted dangerously close to major blood vessels and brain stem, the patient was in "remarkably good condition when he was transferred to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland" where surgeons appropriately used needle-nosed pliers and a drill for the extraction.

Lead neurosurgeon on the case, Dr G Alexander West, admitted in a report in the Journal of Neurosurgery that "no-one before is known to have survived after intentionally firing so many foreign objects into the head".

Unsurprisingly, the post-op human nail-cushion found himself in involuntary psychiatric care. He left after a month, against doctors' orders. ®

Bootnote

Thanks to Roger Hutchings for spotting this DIY suicide shocker.