For many a relative being shot would be a disaster, but for one man the shooting of his mother by his father was a “Christmas miracle”, when doctors discovered her undiagnosed heart condition.
Charlene Ross, 75, was hit in the neck by a piece of ammunition when her husband, Boyd Ross, 77, was trying to use the gun to scare away geese from their home in York Township, Ohio.
She was rushed to Akron hospital by helicopter, where doctors discovered that she suffered from arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat.
Steve Ross told the Medina Gazette: “There is no question that this has been a blessing on two fronts.
“One is that only one pellet nicked her out of the shotgun blast and the second is she was able to be checked out and found that there are underlying problems that we can now address.”
Although Mrs Ross did not have a history of heart conditions, she had recently been experiencing chest pains, which doctors later diagnosed as arrhythmia attacks. She has now been fitted with a pacemaker.
Mrs Ross was shot by a Stevens Model 320 12-gauge shotgun, which was loaded with “birdshot” shells when Boyd Ross came to use the gun and it went off.
The shells went through a wall and into the back of the chair Mrs Ross was sitting in, causing a 4-inch long cut to her neck.
Fortunately for Mrs Ross, when police investigated they found that the majority of the pellets had been unable to penetrate the back of the chair and remained lodged inside the piece of furniture.
The incident brings into question America's lax gun control laws, which are some of the most lenient in the developed world.
Despite accounting for just 4.5 per cent of the world's population, Americans own around 40 per cent of the world's civilian firearms.
The US death rate for firearms, which includes murders as well as accidents, was 10.2 per 100,000 in 2009, compared with the UK rate of 0.25.Reuse content