A Santee man is recovering Friday after he impaled himself on a metal stake while trying to pick avocados.
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Ben Smith, 36, was picking avocados in his backyard around 9 p.m. Thursday night when he lost his balance and fell onto his back and onto the metal stake, authorities said.
Smith was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa, but before he could be transported, the stake had to be cut in half.
Family members told 10News surgeons were able to remove the piece of metal that was lodged in Smith's back.
"They said that it went almost all the way through him," Anna Lou Smith, the victim's grandmother, told 10News.
She also told 10News reporter Allison Ash that the metal spike narrowly missed two major arteries in Smith's abdomen. The only damage was a small tear in Smith's intestine, which doctors say is an easy fix.
"They said that for all intents and purposes that he was fine," Smith's grandmother said.
Doctors told Anna Lou Smith that her grandson is sedated and is sleeping comfortably. He is expected to wake up Saturday.
Smith said she has no immediate plans to give her grandson a hard time about picking avocados after dark.
"No, I'm just going to kiss him and hug him and tell him how happy I am that he's alive. But you know what? Next week I'll lecture him," she said.
Smith said her grandson is lucky, and added, "It could have been a lot worse."
Doctors said Ben Smith is expected to make a full recovery.
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