TULSA, Okla. — In an operation that could have caused serious injury to both the patient and the doctor, a surgeon removed an explosive bullet from the leg of a man who accidentally shot himself.
Daniel Smith was taken to Tulsa's St. Francis Hospital last week after shooting himself with a .45-caliber pistol, Tulsa Police Cpl. R. T. Jones said. Smith told an emergency room doctor that he had wounded himself with a bullet designed to explode on impact.
Jones, a member of the Tulsa police bomb squad, was called in to advise Dr. John Smith, an orthopedic surgeon, in removing the bullet.
Dr. Smith said the bullet passed through a bone below the knee of Smith's left leg and lodged in his flesh. "Had it exploded he might have lost his leg," the doctor said.
It took two hours to locate and remove the bullet.
Jones said the danger was in jarring the detonator on the bullet. He said the chances of the bullet's exploding were minimal, but if it had, "It could have taken out an eye or a finger."
Dr. Smith said he wore protective glasses and used extra long, rubber-covered instruments to remove the bullet.
"I may be brave but I'm not stupid," he said, adding that the instruments were six to eight inches long.