Claim: Prayers are requested for a 22-month-old boy who accidentally shot himself with a nail gun.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, August 2010]
Posting for a friend of a friend -Janet James ...her 22 month old son shot himself in the chest with a brad nailer, it went in his heart, he is in critical condition not doing good, neither is mom. please start a prayer chain. Please ...copy and repost.... and pray
URGENT PRAYER REQUEST!!! PLEASE RE-POST!!
KAYLA SCOTT'S 22 MONTH OLD SON SHOT HIMSELF IN THE CHEST WITH A BRAD NAILER — IT WENT IN HIS HEART — HE IS NOW IN CRITICAL CONDITION AND NOT DOING WELL — NEITHER IS HIS MOM — PLEASE START A PRAYER CHAIN FOR THIS BABY — PLEASE COPY & REPOST ......AS YOU WOULD WANT SOMEONE TO...DO IT...FOR YOU
Origin:This entreaty for prayers on behalf of a 22-month-old boy in critical condition after accidentally shooting himself in the chest with a nail gun first hit our inbox in August 2010, spread in large part by Facebook and Twitter postings. The appeal took on new life in August 2011 when it once again spread through Facebook postings and showed up yet again in August 2016.
Our attempts to verify the existence of such a child back in 2010 were stymied because the name of the supposedly injured toddler was not included in the postings, and we received half a dozen different variants of the same message, each identifying the child's mother with a distinctly different name:
Prayer request for a friend of a friend of a friend... Deedee Parsons Simpson ... her 22 month old son shot himself in the chest with a brad nailer, it went in his heart, he is in critical condition not doing good, neither is mom. please start a prayer chain. Please copy and re post and pray for this little boy!
URGENT PRAYER REQUEST: 4 a friend of a friend of a friend... Kayala Scott - her 22 month old son shot himself in the chest with a brad nailer. It went in his heart. He is in critical condition & not doing well. Neither is his mom. Plz, start a prayer chain for this baby!! Please copy ...& repost, even if you don't know them
Prayer Request. Teresa Lynch URGENT PRAYER REQUEST: Posting for a FB friend: 22 month old son shot himself in the chest with a brad nail gun, it went in his heart, he is in critical condition not doing good, neither is mom~ please start a ...prayer chain. Please copy and re-post, and pray for them.
Passing along this prayer request... Please pray for Cheryl Dewitts' 22 month old son, he shot himself in the chestwith a brad nailer. It went in his heart, he is in critical condition and not doing well, neither is his mom, please start a prayer chain. Please copy and repost... Please pray... what if it was your child?
EMERGENCY PRAYER REQUEST!!! For a friend of a friend of my cousin. Terri Maczko's 22 month old son shot himself in the chest with a nail gun , it went in his heart, he is in critical condition not doing good, neither is mom~ please start a prayer chain. Please copy and repost........ and pray!!!!" Thank you for......... praying!!
For those keeping score, the name of the injured child's mother is Janet James, or Dedee Parsons Simpson, or Kayala (Kayla) Scott, or Teresa Lynch, or Cheryl Dewitts, or Terri Maczko, with the "Kayala Scott" version having become the predominant one. (The name Kay Hutson Bedenbaugh also pops up on some lists.) The pattern suggests these are not the names of the injured child's putative mother, but rather of those who simply forwarded or reposted the message.
On 9 August 2010, a person who stated he was the father of Hayden, the wounded child, posted the following on an online prayer site (while someone else on a different forum posted a photograph purported to be a picture of a recovering Hayden and his mother):
First off, this is in no way a hoax. The child's name is Hayden and he is my son. I'm pleased to report that he will be leaving the hospital on Thursday as soon as he receives his last dose of antibiotics. Thank you so much for the prayers for his recovery, he is a miracle. The accident happened on 7/29/10, and he has been at Carle clinic in champaign, il since then. His big sister (almost 5) had helped him out of his crib while I was downstairs... I had been in and out all afternoon working on window trim while he was taking a nap. Yes, I should have unhooked it before walking away, and trust me I've thought about it constantly since then. Kinda hard not to blame myself, thank God he had his hand on my boy. I never would have even had the nailer out had he been awake. (don't think it wont haunt me forever thinking about how close i came to losing my son) The "nailer" or pinner by the way is just a little bigger than a staple gun, definitely lighter than 4-6#s....2.2#s per manufacturers specs to be exact. It also requires very little pressure on the front plunger for it to go off, after all it is a trim nailer and is designed that way to avoid marring up finished trim by having to push to hard. I know lots of people picture a large framing nailer and think no way a 2 year old could have done that. The DCFS case worker that investigated the incident thought the same thing, until she went to my house and saw how small and easy to set off it was. And as far as all the different names going around that's just because of the copying and pasting prayer request from facebook ect. The good thing is God knows the names and where to direct the healing, which he has done!!! So thank you to all who lifted us up in prayers, we are so blessed!
And by the way, my son who is bigger than 2 of his 3 year old cousins can pick up and carry our 11 pound cat like it's no big deal. I'm suprised at how many people seem to think that a kid his size can't lift a few pounds. Geez, they obviously have never seen my son in action.
However, another poster in the prayer forum expressed skepticism after being unable to verify any of the details proffered by the person claiming to be Hayden's dad:
I have been going round and round with this supposed "father" of Hayden, the supposed 22-month old who shot himself. The blog/post that you’re referring to is turning into a battle zone, especially Christian against Christian. If you go to that site, my display name is PrazB2JC and you can see what I mean. I did an extremely thorough research of this alleged incident. As in my prior posts, no proof, no validation, no details. The "father" states that his son is doing well in Champaign IL at Carle Clinic/Hospital. First of all, I called the hospital and while the receptionist could not give out any confidential info, which I totally understood, I asked if she, herself, had heard of this accident. She said "no, but that’s not uncommon". I phoned the News-Gazette to inquire about this tragedy; they stated they had not heard anything about this. I went through the police call records from 07.29.2010 through 5 days post-accident, and there is no mention of a call in this area having to do with a toddler and a nailer. Supposed father filled out a partial profile on prayercloset.multiple.com in which he lists his home state as “Pennsylvania”. The name he uses is "Robert". So, what;s a guy living in PA, but working on his home in Champaign IL, trying to pull?
It's highly unlikely that the same toddler (who wouldn't be a toddler by 2016 anyway) shot himself with a nail gun yet again five or six years later, or that the exact same accident would befall the child of a woman with one of the same names as a 2010 or 2011 version of the appeal.
For what it's worth, medical literature does record at least one case of a toddler shooting herself in the heart with a nail gun; the unidentified 29-month-old was hospitalized after discharging the device into her body when she picked it up at a construction site:
Although the safety features of the device involved in this instance are unclear, this case illustrates that a young child, even a toddler, may be capable of activating a pneumatic nail gun. Efforts should be directed toward engineering refinements of nail gun safety mechanisms and enhanced parental education regarding the danger posed to children by exposure to these devices. Improved awareness of the risk of accidental nail gun trauma may lead to better prevention of this rare but potentially life-threatening injury.
The little girl (not a little boy) survived, and was released from the hospital without incident. No prayers were reported.
Last updated: 11 August 2016
Originally published: 10 August 2010