It was a routine dental appointment, until James White went to reach for his cellphone.
Instead of grabbing his phone, the 72-year-old from New Carlisle, Ohio — who was under the influence of nitrous oxide — grabbed something else: his pistol.
Still sitting in the dental chair, the woozy patient fired off a round that struck his hand and grazed the left side of his stomach, according to the Springfield News-Sun.
He would later tell police that he thought the phone was ringing before he decided to answer it, the paper reported.
White was transported to a hospital, but no one else was injured by the errant round Wednesday, according to NBC affiliate WCMH.
During a 911 recording broadcast by the station, an employee at New Carlisle Dental Group can be heard saying, “We have a patient here who accidentally shot himself with a gun.”
The surprised dispatcher’s response: “Oh!”
White has a concealed-carry permit, and the dentist’s office does not have signs asking gun owners to keep firearms out of the facility, WCMH reported. But he could be charged with using a weapon while intoxicated, the News-Sun reported. Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly told the paper that formal charges have not been filed “and the case will go before the prosecutor.”
For some observers, White’s behavior was more stupid than criminal.
“If you’re going to be put under nitrous, then you think twice about taking your gun into the dental office,” a neighbor who lives near dentist office, but was not identified, told the station.
Sgt. Christina Evans-Fisher of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office agreed.
“Going into a doctor’s office where you might be placed under some kind of medication, you might not want to carry a weapon in there,” she told WCMH. “Think of your safety and the safety of those around you.”
An employee of the New Carlisle Dental Group told WCMH that the building’s employees were aware that the shooting was an accident but were “shaken up” by the incident.