CLOSE

The Quick 10: 10 Self-Operations

Listverse always has incredibly interesting topics, but this one by author Blogball particularly caught my eye today. Some are heroic, some are just nuts, and all of them are guaranteed to make you grimace at least once.
I summarized Blogball's list, but you should definitely check out Listverse for pictures and a much more detailed list. Then again, if you're totally squicked out by this list, maybe you should just stop right here.

trepanning1. Ines Ramirez, self C-Section. If that doesn't make every female reading this wince, I don't know what will! She sawed through her skin, fat and muscle with a knife and extracted the baby. Everyone ended up being fine, although she had to have surgery to fix the damage she did to her intestines.

2. Amanda Feilding, trepanation. I bet most of our intrepid mental_floss readers know what trepanation is, but in case you don't, it's when a hole is drilled through the skull to allow for better blood flow. At one point in time, it was thought to cure all kinds of ailments. Ms. Feilding thought it might work to relieve her fatigue but couldn't find a doctor to do it, so she performed the trepanation herself. Then she went and had a steak dinner and went out for the evening.
3 . Aron Ralston, self amputation. You probably remember Aron "“ he is a mountain climber who was pinned by a boulder and trapped for five days.

He amputated his right arm, which was trapped under the boulder, and then had to rappel down a cliff and hike out of the canyon to get help. He now has a prosthetic arm and still likes to mountain climb.

4 .Douglas Goodale, self amputation. This lobster fisherman got his hand and arm caught in a winch while out on the sea. His body was actually hanging out over the ocean, so he had to dislocate his shoulder in order to get himself back in the boat. The only way for him to free himself was to cut off his arm"¦ so he did. Then he drove the boat back to the harbor to seek medical help. He's fine today, and still catching lobster.

5. Dr. Leonid Rogozov, self appendectomy. Dr. R. was stationed at an Antarctic base when he discovered he was suffering from acute appendicitis. He had some people help him hold mirrors and retractors, but performed the entire surgery himself using just local anesthetic. He was back to work in two weeks.

nielsen6. Dr. Jerri Nielsen, self biopsy. She was stations at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in 1999 when she found a lump in her breast. So, naturally, she performed a biopsy. The results were inconclusive; the military sent a plane with medical supplies and she performed another one. The lump was cancerous, so she started to give herself chemotherapy. When she made it back to the States, she had a mastectomy "“ her cancer is now in remission.
7. Sampson Parker, self amputation. Just last year, Sampson Parker was bringing in his harvest when his hand got caught in the rollers of a machine. Even worse, the machinery began to throw off sparks and caught the grass and debris on fire. He knew if he didn't get out immediately he would die, so he sawed his arm off with his pocketknife and dropped to the ground to break the bone. He survived, and while he recovered, his neighbors harvested the rest of his corn for him.

8. Joannes Lethaeus, self kidney stone removal. This is an oldie "“ it happened in the 1600s. He used a knife and cut a wound in his perineum, then stuck two fingers in the wound to pull the stone out, which documents say was the size of a hen's egg. Oh. My. God.

9. Dr Evan O'Neill Kane, self appendectomy and hernia repair. Out to prove that general anesthesia was way overused, the good doctor removed his appendix using just local anesthetic. Then, at the age of 70, he repaired his own hernia in just under two hours.

10. Deborah Sampson, self extraction of musket ball. She pretended to be a man and enlisted in the Continental Army in 1782. When she was shot, she refused to go to a hospital because she didn't want her true sex to be discovered. So she removed the musket ball in her thigh by herself, using a penknife and a sewing needle.

arrow
History
The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)
iStock
iStock

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, UglyChristmasSweater.com sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios