Why A Doctor Removed His Own Appendix

Why A Doctor Removed His Own Appendix

When you’re a Russian physician at an Antarctic
research station and develop appendicitis, the options you have are quite limited. Basically, you can either attempt to operate
on yourself and possibly survive or do nothing and before long you’ll be dead. Dr. Leonid Rogozov chose the first option
and got rid of the organ with the assistance of a meteorologist and a mechanic. The crazy thing is he was not the first doctor
to operate on himself to remove his own appendix. Dr. Evan O’Neill Kane holds that distinction
and actually cut himself apart not just once but three different times. Let’s find out why in this episode of the
Infographics Show, The Story of the Doctor Who Removed his Own Appendix (Evan O’Neill
Kane). Dr. Evan O’Neill Kane came from a family
that to say was quite well-known would be an understatement. In fact, his father, Thomas L. Kane, a lawyer
with high-up government connections, was also a Civil War major general and his own father
had been a brigadier general for the Union before him. Thomas Kane married Evan’s mother, Elizabeth
Wood, a doctor with a father who was president of the New York Board of Education. Together the couple had four children. Evan was born 6 days before the Civil War
began, and like his mother, grew up to be a medical professional. So did his brother Thomas, and even his sister
Harriet Amelia quite unoriginally got a medical degree of her own. His older brother Elisha, though he went a
different path, had bragging rights just the same as an engineering graduate from Princeton
University. In other words, Dr. Evan O’Neill Kane came
from a prestigious and accomplished family and he was doing his part to continue its
impressive reputation. His hands-on experiences in the field of medicine
began when he was a young boy of 17. At this time, he went with his father, his
older brother Elisha, and an ex Civil War colonel named Dr. Freeman to Mexico on behalf
of a railroad. One thing led to another once there and they
found themselves caught up in the middle of a violent uprising. They were given permission to treat the wounded
and the three men worked together under the guidance of Dr. Freeman. His main directives were amputations of various
limbs, and while others did most of the procedure, Evan Kane assisted. Another decade would pass before he graduated
from a Jefferson Medical College and was able to operate on his own or make any life or
death decisions. Evan became a chief surgeon at a hospital
he helped found and was rather unsurprisingly given the Kane name. His main area of practice was what was known
as railway surgery and he performed procedures similar to those he had helped with while
still a teen. In other words, he specialized in the trauma
and routine care of railway employees, their families, and others with railroad-affiliated
injuries. Such work came with high job security. Due to the hazards of the job of working on
a railway, doctors were unfortunately needed quite often. In 1897, 1,693 workers were killed and an
additional 27,667 were hurt or in some way wounded. With the further expansion of transcontinental
routes, it meant that many people were risking their lives on a regular basis while nowhere
near a hospital. Dr. Evan Kane was one of the professionals
who helped meet this need for convenient medical care. For this purpose he worked with as many as
five different railroads. He not only practiced medicine but focused
his many talents on creating and improving upon medical products and procedures. An example of this were asbestos bandages,
unusually strong as well as heat and flame resistant although we are now aware that asbestos
is unfortunately a carcinogen. Mica windows, or sheets of a fireproof mineral
were another idea of his to assist with surgery on the brain. These sheets would protect skin grafts from
damage. He also helped develop the procedure of multiple
site hypodermoclysis as an alternative method to an IV of introducing fluids to the body. His ideas did not stop there. In quite an unusual move for the time, Dr.
Evan Kane was also known to play music during his surgeries and was convinced that doing
so had many benefits. The use of a phonograph, he claimed, would
help calm patients as well as put them at ease and give them something else to focus
on. But while Evan Kane was credited with all
these things, his removal of his own appendix is considered his most famous endeavor and
his crowning life achievement. Believe it or not, the appendectomy wasn’t
the first time he had cut himself apart, or engaged in what is termed a self-surgery. Two years prior he had sliced off the pointer
finger of his left hand after it developed an infected ulcer. He used only a topical anesthetic for the
procedure which effectively relieved him of any pain. This likely gave him the confidence necessary
to use these types of drugs during bigger and more complex operations. And he had several compelling reasons to attempt
this. In 1921, most patients undergoing a major
operation were given ether as a form of anesthesia that knocked them fully unconscious. Upon its initial use it revolutionized the
medical field as patients were able to be cut into and apart without feeling unbearable
pain. However, while it certainly reduced their
suffering, that was not all it was known to do. Its side effects included delirium, numbness,
loss of muscle control, and a greater risk of dying before or after the operation was
complete. Those who had underlying medical conditions
of a serious nature, such as a heart condition, were not considered ideal candidates for major
operations using ether for this reason. With their compromised heath, exposure to
the drug was considered much too risky. Dr. Evan O’Neill Kane believed there was
a way around this. As surgery on his finger using an alternative
form of anesthesia in which he had no serious side effects seemed to suggest, there were
superior options available. However, he faced the challenge of getting
those that mattered to agree. In order to gain support for alternate drugs,
he would have to prove their use during a much larger type of surgery. Unfortunately, there were not many volunteers
who were willing to be cut open to test the effectiveness of the only form of pain killer
they would be given during the procedure. 60-year-old Evan Kane could care less. A practical man, he solved this problem by
himself. Propped up by a few pillows and while a nurse
supported his head, he lay upon the surgical table and took out his own appendix. After all, he hardly needed to see what he
was doing as he had completed the procedure several thousand times on others. Under local anesthesia, and while three other
surgeons looked on, he made a large incision in his abdomen by using a scalpel. As he progressed into the deeper layers of
tissue, he methodically closed off blood vessels one by one. Once his appendix was out others present,
including his brother Dr. Tom L. Kane, stitched him back up again. Evan Kane not only survived the experience,
but made a complete recovery. And before you think he was absolutely crazy
to have done such a thing, it’s worth mentioning that the procedure may have eventually had
to happen anyway. Evan suffered from chronic appendicitis and
likely suffered uncomfortable symptoms as well as ran the risk of having his condition
become more serious. It was just another added benefit that in
the same go he had proven the effectiveness of alternate forms of pain-relieving drugs. These were then used much more frequently
leading to safer operations and many more people qualifying for more comfortable and
life-saving surgery. Acute appendicitis, for example, can lead
to death by sepsis if not treated promptly. Beyond this, he saw additional payoffs as
well. He had found it very worthwhile to experience
the entire procedure not only from the perspective of the surgeon but from the patient’s point
of view. In this way it could be easier for him to
give his patients what they needed so they had the best operating and post-op experience. We assume there are not many doctors out there
willing to go to such lengths to do this. Even after the successful removal of his appendix,
Evan Kane was not quite done cutting himself open. Just a decade later, at the age of 70, he
again operated on himself to fix an inguinal hernia, which is a technical way of describing
an area where fat or tissue pokes on through the abdominal wall. This procedure was a bit riskier than the
others but he was able to finish it successfully and avoided cutting into a nearby femoral
artery. To put the risk into perspective, experts
estimate that significant damage to the artery in certain locations can cause death by blood
loss in as little as five minutes. But, once again Dr. Evan Kane was less than
concerned. In fact, those who were present claimed the
doctor joked around and smiled the entire time he was repairing himself. And less than two days later, he was again
in the operating room, carrying out various surgical procedures on others. This was a time when Dr. Kane had already
been in the papers. His third hernia repair operation was quite
the event but even between his second and third self-surgeries, Evan was splashed across
headlines and the topic of conversation. In this instance, it was as he provided testimony
in the case of the death of his daughter-in-law who prosecutors alleged had been drowned by
his 37-year-old son. His son and his son’s wife, Jenny Graham
Kane, had apparently been swimming at a beach near Hampton, Virginia, when Jenny drowned. While his son claimed she had fallen from
a rock and he had tried to save her, some fishermen said they saw the couple swimming
before they had heard Jenny scream. Dr. Evan Kane came to his son’s rescue by
providing scientific testimony and a doctor’s, although hardly an impartial one’s, expert
opinion. He described Jenny’s health as unstable
and that she had a condition known as angina pectoris, or a disease of the heart, which
may have caused a heart attack and her subsequent drowning. It was his word against little more than suspicion
as there had been no official autopsy of the body. As a result, Kane’s son, while guilty or
not, was allowed to walk free. Evan Kane had done many things during his
life that had earned him great fame, though in time it seemed that his many surgeries
caught up with him. Following the repair of his hernia, his health
never fully went back to what it once was before the operation. He died only a few months later, and five
days before he turned 71. But his memory lives on in improved medical
care for many and even in at least one television series. The Knick was a show meant to take place in
a New York City hospital that had a true-to-life second-season finale. The surgeon in the series, a Dr. John Thackery,
is shown removing dead tissue from his intestines. Unfortunately, unlike the real-life Kane who
avoided a similar situation, he severed the nearby arteries and died. This was no mere coincidence as the executive
producer of the series mentioned Kane when describing the Thackery character. Beyond TV, we continue to benefit from his
past wisdom in real-life in one more critical way. The next time you undergo an operation and
those in charge are thoughtful enough to play some music or alternatively you provide your
own soundtrack you can thank Dr. Evan Kane for promoting this idea. May we suggest a soundtrack that includes
“Smooth Operator” by Sade, “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd, or the Bee Gees “Stayin’
Alive”? Though, let’s warn against including songs
like Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” or R.E.M’s “Everybody Hurts” instead. These would be a tad less calming under the
circumstances. So now that you have learned about the life
of Dr. Evan Kane, if you had the expertise to know what you were doing, would you cut
yourself open? How about to improve the lives of others? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called Prisoner So Violent Other Prisoners Fear Him! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

96 Replies to “Why A Doctor Removed His Own Appendix”

  1. Cliff notes;

    Dr Jack Shepherd, he was a doctor who survived a plane crash along with ~30 other people. He got severe pain in has abdomen and decided to remove his appendix.

  2. I forgot what movie was that but theres a scene where he removed the spider from his heart I forgot if it was a spider or what

  3. 🖐️ up for those of you who had your appendix removed!

    Can you imagine doing it by yourself? 👀 🤔 🤯

  4. hey guys, today im gonna show u doing surgery on myself… i removed my appendix now i go sell it and buy iphone6

  5. Man the animations are getting lazy. Different art styles in a single image. Characters that don’t even match the story being told, with this video having modern style doctors when the story is from the late 19th century. And the characters look like they’re stock animations. Come on guys, this is lazy.

  6. You want to see proof of the matrix! look up "marfoogle tv" or news" and look at his neck tatoo it moves from left to right on different videoes he posted sometimes its on the left neck or right neck compare his videos and look at his neck take 5mins investigate his videos it will confirm the matrix

  7. self surgery , I’ve seen it all the time on war movies. When people got shot and they are in the woods or something with no medical help to be found, they just stuff a hanky into their mouth, stab themselves with the knife and take the bullet out. It’s gruesome but what choice do they have ? If they left it in they would die

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