Man hammers nail into head every week for 11 weeks

I just found this jaw-dropping case study of a man who banged 11 nails into his head while sadly quite distressed and psychotic.

The X-ray images are striking on their own, and what is even more astounding is that he made a full recovery.

Penetrating head injury in planned and repetitive deliberate self-harm.

Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2007 May;82(5):536.

Demetriades AK, Papadopoulos MC.

44-year-old man presented to his local emergency department wearing a baseball cap and complaining of headaches that had progressively worsened over the preceding 11 weeks. After we provided generous analgesia and performed simple investigations that failed to identify a diagnosis, the patient removed his cap to reveal an assortment of metallic objects embedded in his scalp. Plain radiographs showed 11 nails penetrating into his brain. A detailed history revealed a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, and the patient confirmed that he had hammered a nail into his head each week for the past 11 weeks to rid him of evil. The nails were removed with the patient under general anesthesia, and he made an uncomplicated recovery with no neurological deficits.

Link to abstract on PubMed.


  1. potruss
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Phineas Gauge, eat your heart out…ur…head out!

  2. Imperial Wonderfulness of Crotch
    Posted December 26, 2007 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    ARE you serious about no neurological deficits??? The guy had huge deficits in order to do this at all! Reminds me of MC Hammer.

  3. noyz_zd
    Posted January 6, 2008 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    That should be “he made an uncomplicated recovery with no “further” neurological deficits, because that is one messed up dude.

  4. noyz_zd
    Posted January 6, 2008 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of the guy who nailed his penis to the floor after he was accused of being a pedophile.
    The accusation was later proved false but by then the hammer was the more useful tool.

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