Healthcare News & Insights

Patient with nail in brain stops to post X-ray on Facebook

Medical professionals can get in heaps of trouble for posting patient info on Facebook — but patients do it themselves happily. Last week, Dante Autullo of Orland Park, Illinois, was building a shed and using a nail  gun overhead when he felt a sharp impact “like a punch” on the side of his head.

At first, he thought he’d been cut by a stray nail whizzing by. His girlfriend inspected the small wound, cleaned it with peroxide and Autullo continued with his work for the day, including some snow plowing. The next day, when he awoke from a nap feeling nauseated, his girlfriend suggested they go to the hospital to play it safe.

When doctors showed him the X-ray of his head with a 3 1/4″ nail nestled deep in the middle of his brain, Autullo assumed the doctors were playing a practical joke on him.

He was sent to Advocate Christ Medical Center in nearby Oak Lawn for emergency surgery. Along the way, Autullo took a few minutes to post the X-ray to his own Facebook wall. Autullo is now recovering well from the surgery with no apparent permanent damage or loss of function. He did lose a part of his skull during the extraction though, which was replaced with titanium mesh.

Doctors say the nail missed the part of the brain that controls motor function by mere millimeters. The lack of pain-indicating nerves in the brain itself explain why Autullo felt the impact to his skull, but no other pain from the nail being embedded in his head.

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