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Man tries removing hernia with butter knife. Good idea?

BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

July 26, 2011|By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
  • In this file photo, doctors perform surgery on a hernia. Rather than leave it to the professionals like these, a Glendale man attempted to remove a painful hernia with a butter knife this weekend.
In this file photo, doctors perform surgery on a hernia. Rather than leave… (Thomas Mukoya / Reuters )

A 63-year-old Southern California man, suffering from a painful hernia, apparently stuck a butter knife into his abdomen in an attempt to remove it.

In an admirable display of conscientiousness, the Associated Press reports, the Glendale resident also took the cigarette he was smoking and pressed it to the open wound. "I don't know if he was cauterizing it," one officer told AP. The man showed no outward signs of pain, according to police. His wife called 911.

The officer said that he'd seen self-mutilation, "but not a maneuver like this."

He has a point. The stereotypical knife-and-body incident often seems to involve a self-destructive tendency borne of mental illness, rather than a desire to solve a physical problem. Logical though the man's motivation may seem, a butter knife seems like a rather blunt instrument to do the deed.

To be fair, this may be because it's hard to think straight when you're hurting. Studies have shown that pain is linked to irrationality, and that the level of irrationality depends on the type of pain as well.

As for the man, whose name was not released because he was placed on psychiatric hold, we wish him a speedy recovery -- this time, with some surgical help from the professionals.

And for what it's worth: Don't try this at home.

Follow me on Twitter @LAT_aminakhan.

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