A man who tried to remove his stomach hernia with a butter knife has succeed in earning his 15 minutes of fame, plus a trip to the loony bin:

A 63-year-old Glendale man was in stable condition after he attempted surgery on himself with a six-inch butter knife to remove a protruding hernia from his stomach, police said Tuesday.

When police arrived at the man’s home on the 1000 block of Columbus Avenue on Sunday evening, they saw the man lying naked outside on a lounge chair with what appeared to be the handle of a knife protruding from his stomach, Sgt. Tom Lorenz of the Glendale Police Department told the Glendale News-Press.

As police waited for paramedics to arrive, Lorenz said the man pulled out the knife and shoved a cigarette he was smoking inside the open wound.

That’s probably because these days smoking is verboten everywhere, so he was afraid he’d get caught and cited.

But the police decided he was crazy:

The man, whose name was not released, was immediately placed on a psychiatric hold and taken to a hospital, Lorenz said. The man’s wife had reportedly notified police that her husband had become upset about the hernia and wanted to take it out.

“It is absolutely impossible for someone to fix their own hernia,” said Sam Carvajal, a surgeon at Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Plenty of people have fixed their own hernias in emergency situations. When the gut is pushing through the musculature surrounding the abdominal wall, it is often possible to push it back in manually (without opening the skin) and things will be back in order, at least for the time being. Surgery may still be advisable. As to cutting yourself open with a knife, and fixing the hernia it would not be easy, but I’d be willing to bet a good surgeon with access to the right equipment could fix his own hernia in front of a mirror. Not likely, but not “absolutely impossible.”

This incident reminds me of a guy I heard from a friend about who went into the ER in Eureka and demanded an immediate circumcision. (He said his girlfriend would not marry him unless he was circumcised.) When told that this was not an emergency and he would have to make an appointment with a urologist, the man became enraged, ran into one of the rooms, grabbed a scalpel, and sliced a deep gash half way through his penis, which gushed blood all over the place. They were going to call a SWAT team (because he met the criteria of an armed, barricaded suspect), when my friend (who worked in the ER) simply went in there, scolded him as if he had been a bad little boy, and took the scalpel away from him, thereby defusing what could have escalated into a fatal situation.

FWIW, I advise against doing your own surgery unless absolutely necessary.