Man tries surgery on own hernia using butter knife

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

The man, whose name wasn’t released, was taken just after 7:32 p.m. Sunday to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he was treated for his injury, according to Glendale police.

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

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.


The man was immediately placed on a psychiatric hold and taken to the 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.

“Out of frustration, he tried to cut it out,” Lorenz said.

In attempting to remove his own hernia, said Sam Carvajal, a surgeon at Glendale Adventist Medical Center, he likely caused more harm than good.


“It is absolutely impossible for someone to fix their own hernia,” Carvajal said.

And most hernia patients don’t suffer severe enough pain that would cause them to attempt surgery on themselves, he added.

“Obviously, there is some amount of psychosis going on,” Carvajal said.

Repairing a hernia is a relatively easy surgery that lasts about 20 to 30 minutes, he said.