Man who tried self-amputation thought of MacGyver

June 16, 2010 1:26:22 PM PDT
Jonathan Metz had his arm stuck in his furnace boiler for about 12 hours when he asked himself "what would MacGyver do?" and decided that amputating the limb was his only chance for survival. The 31-year-old West Hartford man, who was released from the hospital Monday, met with the media Tuesday for the first time since getting his arm stuck in his furnace for two days and cutting off most of the limb.

Metz said he considered every other option before thinking of the 1980s television character and settling on amputation. He said he had the fantasy that he could cut off the arm, run upstairs and put it in his freezer and then call 911.

He said he spent six hours psyching himself up for the self-amputation. Metz said he first used a hacksaw blade, then used a larger blade, which he hoped would make the operation go smoother. He nearly succeeded, but couldn't make it through a bundle of nerves.

Metz, who lives alone, also revealed Tuesday that the ordeal began after work on Monday, June 7, not the day before, as doctors had previously said.

He had been working around the boiler on his furnace when he dropped an attachment to a vacuum and was reaching in to retrieve it when his arm became stuck, he said.

Friends grew worried when Metz did not show up for work and missed a softball game.

When Metz did not answer the doorbell at his home Wednesday, June 9, a friend called police, who found Metz in the basement.

Firefighters ripped apart the furnace with heavy tools, including a spreader normally used to take the door off a car.

Once they did so, the arm "just gave away, because his arm was already infected and the tissue was nonviable," doctors have said.

The Metz family has set up a website -- http://helpjonmetz.com -- to collect donations to help pay for a prosthetic arm.


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