Blog | Thursday, November 3, 2011

QD: News Every Day--More on people who operate on themselves

A 47-year-old Chicago man died after trying to remove his own pacemaker. He's not the first to try self-surgery, as it turns out.

The Chicago Tribune described this most recent attempt at self-surgery: "Chicago Fire Department paramedics were called after the man told a worker in the home that he was experiencing chest pains and asked them to call an ambulance.

"The man returned to his room, where he remained until paramedics arrived, police said. When they did, he complained to them about chest pains and was taken to the ambulance where he fell unconscious, police said.

"As paramedics were trying to revive him, they discovered a puncture wound on the upper left side of his chest, police said. At some point, police were called when it became apparent that the man had been stabbed, police said.

"After the man was taken to the hospital, a doctor told police that the man had apparently tried to remove his pacemaker himself, police said."

Pacemakers have been long documented as being uncomfortable, and people opt to deactivate them instead of living with the jolts and shocks they deliver. This extreme case recalls a previous attempt at self-surgery, when a California man tried to operate on his own hernia with a butter knife over the summer. That man lived, but was placed into a three-day psychiatric observation.