Man's DIY Butter Knife Surgery Should Be a Wake Up Call

butter knifeWhat's more disturbing? That we live in a country where a man who is tired of waiting for surgery on his painful hernia will use a butter knife to do it himself? Or that the cops say it doesn't really matter if the man had health insurance?


It's journalism 101. When a man's wife said he was "tired of waiting for surgery," you try to find out WHY he was waiting to begin with. But the main source of information on the story of the desperate man that's gone viral told MSNBC:

Whether they have insurance or not is not a matter anymore, seeing that he is in the care of the county. Because of that, he will get the removal or repair of the hernia at taxpayers' expense.

But it does matter -- more than the as yet unidentified man's mental state, more than the methods he used (a butter knife followed by putting out a lit cigarette on the open wound in an attempt to cauterize it when his wife called paramedics). It's the only way to tell if this man was crazy or another victim of the disaster we call our current health care system.

A hernia surgery is a relatively simple procedure, at least when performed by trained surgeons, and they're incredibly common. Some 600,000 are performed every year here in the states, on men and women alike. That's because they're the only permanent treatment option for a hernia (which, by the way, is "a sac formed by the lining of the abdominal cavity" according to the National Institutes of Health). There is no other cure. Period. And if a hernia has been deemed appropriate for surgical intervention, waiting only allows it to grow, making surgery more complicated and putting the patient in intense pain.

In other words, waiting is not an option for anyone, not just possibly crazy guys with butter knives and cigarettes. 

Not in America where we have access to real health care. Not in America where hernia surgeries are a dime a dozen. Not in America where there's really no point in someone suffering needless pain. Not in America where someone's health insurance status shouldn't be the deciding factor on whether people get the health care they need. Not in America, where human beings should never be put in a position where a butter knife seems like a better idea than having to wait until professionals make you a priority. This may be a one-off happenstance, but it's a scary sign of what can happen in an America where money matters more than people's lives.

Does the fact that this even happened scare you?


Image via Calgary Reviews/Flickr

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