Thursday, August 11, 2011
7 News Investigations: Self Surgery
What would you do if you needed medical care but didn't have insurance and just couldn't afford it? Seems some people are taking extreme measures, even doing the surgery themselves! 7's Craig Stevens has more on this surgery shocker.
WSVN -- Dwain Williams of Ft. Lauderdale used to have a big mass on his forehead from an accident years ago. He says it was embarrassing because people always stared at him.
Dwain Williams: "I got tired of people just looking at me. It's like a bulls eye."
When he went to a surgeon to have it surgically removed, the self-employed tree cutter, discovered even with insurance the price tag was way too high.
Dwain Williams: "The price was in between like $5,000 and it would be a $2,000 deductible, but I couldn't afford the threshold. Every penny I make goes mostly towards mortgage and taking care of family."
As the economy got worse Dwain had to drop his insurance, but he still wanted the ugly mass removed, so the 48 year old decided to become his own surgeon.
Dwain Williams: "I've always been good at working on anything, anything I set my heart out to do, I usually accomplish it."
Dwain grabbed his co-worker, his son, and a box-cutter and went to work cutting the mass out of his head.
Dwain Williams: "My intention to make my cut when I come across, split open."
Dwain Williams: "I made the first incision. I cut within the brow line so you wouldn't see a noticeable scar."
A friend taped the whole thing even posting it on Youtube.
Dwain Williams: "As for the physical pain, I could block it out."
Most of the video is too graphic to show you, but the team of wanna-be surgeons successfully removed the mass. Dwain says it took about ten weeks to heal.
Dwain Williams: "I don't think anyone could know if I had any surgery."
Believe it or not Dwain is not alone. Others are also taking drastic measures when they can't afford the health care they need or want.
In Southern California a man stuck a butter knife into his belly to remove a bulging hernia. His wife claims he did it because he was in extreme pain and had no health insurance.
Earlier this summer a man robbed a bank in North Carolina of only one dollar.
Richard James Verone: "Cause I wanted to make it known that it wasn't done for monetary value, it was done for medical reasons."
The 59 year old has a host of medical problems and says he robbed the bank, so he could go to jail and get free healthcare.
Richard James Verone: "If you call it manipulation, then out of of necessity because I need medical care, then I guess I am manipulating the court for medical care."
Dwain says he's not surprised.
Dwain Williams: "I think we are living in desperate times now, you know, where the economy is so bad to where a person would be like me, and have to do something that's radical."
But doctors warn this kind of do-it-yourself surgery is dangerous.
Dr. Andrew Rosenthal, Memorial Regional Trauma Surgeon: "Certainly surgery on somebody who is not trained properly on the procedure is a horrible idea. It's nothing we would ever recommend. So many things could go wrong, people could have bleeding, they could have an infection. The scar could be something cosmetically unacceptable."
Dwain agrees others shouldn't try what he did, but when asked if he would do it again.
Dwain Williams: "Absolutely, without any hesitation."
There are also reports of people doing their own dental procedures too. Again, doctors do not recommend anyone trying this on their own.