Friday, 20 September 2013

On Self-surgery

I have had reason in my writing life to consider a topic that few people ever look into: the topic of self-surgery. Only a few people have the combination of misfortune and courage that could make self-surgery possible. Merely hacking off a limb to escape from some horrible trap hardly even counts. Any mammal worth the name would do as much. I am interested in more difficult surgery. In 1921, a Dr. Evan Kane took out his own appendix, to show that local anaesthesia was a good idea. His case brings to mind perhaps the most famous self-surgeon, Dr. Leonid Rogozov, who also cut out his own appendix, as a matter of necessity, in Antarctica in 1961, using a novocaine solution for local anaesthesia. These two had the advantages of being medically-trained and having access to good pharmaceuticals. More recently, in 2000, a Mexican farmer's wife, Mrs. Inés Pérez, gave herself a C-section with a kitchen knife, using only a few glasses of liquor against the pain. The operation, while inelegant, succeeded in saving both mother and child.

I admire these people intensely. They make me proud to be a human being.

It is interesting to think about why this is so.

No comments:

Post a Comment