Weird X-Rays

image If this story wasn't in the NY Times, I wouldn't believe that it was true (though I do see that it's actually an AP story picked up by the Times). Patrick Lawler went to the dentist about a toothache and found out he had a four-inch nail lodged inside his head. It came from a nail gun he had been using a few days before. He hadn't realized that the gun had shot a nail inside his head! The x-ray of the nail inside his head (see thumbnail to right) reminds me of the x-ray picture (below) that I have on my Hoax Photo Test showing a fork inside a woman's stomach. In her case she swallowed the fork while inserting it down her throat in order to remove a cockroach that had somehow got lodged down there. True story.

Body Manipulation Photos

Posted on Thu Jan 20, 2005


Well, i've seen this on TV here in Portugal and the looks on the man's face... even after the nail removal he was so astonished.... he also said he was going back to the oldschool hammer!
Posted by Bernardo Santos  on  Thu Jan 20, 2005  at  04:41 AM
I produced still image videodiscs (remember those!) with a number of Radiographers and indeed there are many "anomalies" that show up -which these doctors collect and share among friends like giddy teenagers.

They are trained to spot these anomalies including buttons, shrapnel, pins, coinage and less dense items that can masquerade as pathology. Many items are actually not in the body -the radiographic technician forgot to tell the person to take off clothing, etc.

Some are pretty strange; many, ahem..., deviant in nature including a tiny spinal column or coke bottle visible in the nether regions.
Posted by George Greene  in  Minnesota  on  Thu Jan 20, 2005  at  10:20 AM
I got the January issue of "Parents" magazine a few weeks ago. They showed X-rays of kids with keys in their intestines, jacks in their throats, it was creepy. My daughter gave me a scare a few months back, I thought she swallowed a straigt pin. I took her for an x-ray & the doctor brought it back b/c there were 3 peices of round metal showing in her throat, chest, & stomach. It was the snaps on the back of her onesie. No strait pin though.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Thu Jan 20, 2005  at  10:31 AM
QED: nailguns do not hurt you

Posted by Beasjt  in  Menorca (Spain)  on  Thu Jan 20, 2005  at  03:39 PM
Some months ago, I used the fork-in-the-stomach x-ray in my English as a Second Language class to demonstrate comparatives and superlatives. The students learned to say, "To swallow a cockroach is bad. To swallow a fork is worse."
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Thu Jan 20, 2005  at  04:21 PM
Yeah, it's true, it happened here in Colorado where I live, and I personally think that man an insult to the state.
Posted by RedMage13  on  Thu Jan 20, 2005  at  09:17 PM
Now, for the Really disgusting - During my deceased father-in-law's autopsy in 1982 (having been long divorced and estranged from the family for decades), the coroner discovered via x-ray, and later, physical extraction, that he had a half-length, sharpened No.2 pencil inserted and lodged up his urethra! The coroner estimated that it had been present there for at least three years prior to his death, and had been partially absorbed into the inner flesh of his penis. I poo you not.
Posted by stork  in  the spiracles of space  on  Thu Jan 20, 2005  at  10:44 PM
I don't get it. How could you NOT know you've shot yourself in the face with a 4 inch nail gun???? Wouldn't you kinda, you know, feel it? shock
Posted by Glamcat  on  Fri Jan 21, 2005  at  07:17 AM
Glamcat, according to the various accounts I have seen and read on this, the guy knew he had been hit with the nailgun but thought it was the back end that hit him not the front. Since the nails come out the front, he didn't expect anything except the pain from the violent smack. His hospital bill is over $100,000 from one report I've seen. Bet his premimums go up as a result. He'd better make a fortune off the incident so he can afford the higher premimums.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Fri Jan 21, 2005  at  10:24 PM
OK. Thanks for clearing that up. I suppose a 4 inch nail could penetrate your head without you noticing. Maybe he was delierous from the sharp blow. Wasn't there any blood? I guess it must have been a pretty clean entry. Still, pretty mind boggling.
Stork, I just read your account of your father-in law's autopsy and OMG! That's quite disturbing. Maybe he was working on a home erectile disfunction kit!
Posted by Glamcat  on  Fri Jan 21, 2005  at  11:19 PM
Glamcat, Yeah - the old coot just couldn't live without something to help keep it up. After all, he abandoned my wife's mother with 8 children & one on the way, never paid a cent of support, and reportedly fathered and abandoned 3-4 kids in other states. We've met one of them, for real. Oh, am I speaking ill of the dead? No, but may the sorry SOB rot in hell.
Posted by stork  in  the spiracles of space  on  Sat Jan 22, 2005  at  02:22 PM
I still don't think you could have a 4-inch nail in your face and not know it, unless you're an idiot, or the nail somehow severed the sensory nerves to your head.

I once stepped on a nail (it was sticking up from an old board), and I knew immediately and for many weeks afterward that it had gone through my foot.
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Sat Jan 22, 2005  at  05:32 PM
I just had a thought. My eldest brother was in construction for years and I've seen nail guns in action. The recoil on those things would require that this guy have been right next to it, the recoil is only a few inches. Most carpenters I remember seeing use a nail gun had it at about arm's length. Second, the trigger on that is just like that on a gun, he had to know which way it was pointing. Maybe I was wrong before and he came up with a plausable cover story to hide the fact that he goofed.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Sat Jan 22, 2005  at  06:15 PM
The nail guns my dad used had a little safety. At the end, where the nail came out, there was a little piece of loose metal. If you tried to pull the trigger on the gun, nothing would happen. If you pressed that loose piece of metal against something, & the piece was pushed back into the gun, when you pulled the trigger a nail would shoot out. I don't know if I'm explaining this right. I saw the story, I don't doubt that it's real...I just have a hard time w/ HOW it happened. I can see not feeling it, b/c he may have dmgd his nerves...and the blood? If it was a deep enough puncture, it wouldn't have bled. He did get a headache/toothache later...but the way it happened??

Maybe he was trying to do something stupid, the gun went off & he thought maybe the nail went flying someplace, rather than into his head.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Sun Jan 23, 2005  at  10:36 AM
I saw him being interviewed on tv, he did have some bleeding but he said he thought it was just from a split lip from the force of the gun hitting his face. Also, the nail narrowly missed puncturing his eye.
From what I gathered, the nail was in a sort of empty space in his head, where nothing major was, and therefore he was quite lucky. Kind of reminds me of the duck (goose?) that got hit with an arrow through the head from some mean person, and the arrow went through an empty space that nothing major was in, and so he lived. A veterinarian kindly removed the arrow and let it go after it was pretty much all healed. Amazing stories, both of these!
Posted by thephrog  on  Tue Jan 25, 2005  at  01:38 PM
>>>I still don't think you could have a 4-inch nail in your face and not know it<<<

Well, no, not if it was sticking out of your face or head. That's the rub--in this case, the nail had lodged itself in the roof of this man's mouth. When the story says it almost put out his eye, they mean from *beneath* the eye socket.

He thought the pain was due to being slammed in the face with a nail gun, and was eating ice cream for it, and went to a dentist, who found it.

That part of the story is actually plausible. It's what this guy was doing with a nail gun pointed at his face that has me scratching my head. Contrary to what you see on the Simpsons, nail guns don't fire nails like bullets; the range is pretty short, and like someone else explained, the metal guard has to be depressed against something.

But then, if this guy was smart, he'd have a better job, perhaps.

If I swallowed a cockroach, I'd shrug, have a beer, and take a nap. It's all just protein--digesting a cockroach doesn't hurt dogs, or geckos, for that matter. My stomach can handle a roach, but not a fork.

I know it's gross, but I eat hot dogs and I don't think about what's in them....
Posted by Barghest  on  Wed Jan 26, 2005  at  12:10 AM
My curiosity was piqued to find more bizarre X Rays after seeing quite a few presented by my Professor in a Soft Tissue Imaging X Ray class I'm currently taking. I found this message board after Googling 'Weird X Rays.'

For those curious, I recently saw an 2-view opposing skull x-ray of a man who had been standing on a ladder when some building material fell from the roof above and crashed around his head. He reported having a headache but finished his work day. That evening he took some ibuprofen for his headache and went to bed. The next morning in shower he noticed a small amount of blood on his fingers. His wife looked and saw a flat piece of metal on his scalp, which prompted a visit to the hospital.

In a short time the X-rays confirmed that the man had a three-inch nail lodged vertically in his skull and deep into his frontal lobe. Purportedly, the man was more annoyed than worried and just wanted the attending docs to "just get the damn thing out!" The nail was removed without immediately evident harm and the man was back to work within days. Simply amazing, eh?

>>>unless you're an idiot, or the nail somehow severed the sensory nerves to your head<<<

The brain itself has no pain receptors, so pain would only be percieved superficially. There's a fairly famous story of a railroad worker (Silas Something-or-other) in the 1800s who had a rail road spike blown thru his head after a premature dynamite explosion. It entered the roof of his mouth and exited his superior skull. He lived, but his personality was drastically altered from a mild-mannered, pious type, to a wanton terrorizer of women with many other social oddities. Go figure.

Lastly, (sheesh I didn't mean to write so much...) all of these stories share a commonality: that they all took place in the frontal lobe of the brain, which is primarly responsible for elements of your personality not the more basal functions of sustaining life. To an extent, oblitering the frontal lobe is equivilent to a lobotomy- once heraled as an ingenious surgery, it's little more than sticking a rod up someone's nose so far that you swirl it around inside thier brain.
Posted by Gatsby  on  Sat Jan 29, 2005  at  10:46 AM
Posted by dd  in  sd  on  Mon Oct 01, 2007  at  06:22 PM
Commenting is no longer available in this channel entry.