Trapped Man Cuts Off Own Arm to Save His Life

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    NEWSLETTERS

    On Sunday, Jonathan Metz was working on the furnace in his West Hartford, Conn., home when he dropped a tool, reached for it and things went terribly wrong. His left arm became lodged in it or around the furnace.

    What followed were two and a half harrowing days of being trapped, infection setting in.

    Man Cuts Off Arm to Save Himself

    [HAR] Man Cuts Off Arm to Save Himself
    A West Hartford trapped by his basement furnace for three days, cut off his own arm to save himself.

    Metz, a financial analyst for an insurance company who lives alone, sustained himself only on water that was dripping from the boiler, but after two days, with gangrene developing, he made what is likely the toughest decision of his life. He decided to amputate his own arm.

    He fashioned a tourniquet and, using his own tools, he was nearly able to remove his own arm in an effort to free himself. Doctors believe a nerve prevented him from removing the arm. They could not comment on what was going through 31-year-old’s mind as he went through the ordeal, but his decision ended up saving his own life, doctors said.

    Doctors said his left arm was his “non-dominant.”

    On Wednesday afternoon, police officers and firefighters came to his rescue. Metz was in and out of consciousness as emergency crews fed him an IV and worked for 30 minutes to free him. He was then rushed to a local hospital. Crews brought his arm to the hospital, but they were not able to reattach it because of the level of infection.

    Surgeon Dr. Scott Ellner said Metz’s story is “an amazing story of survival," and he must have been in indescribable pain as he removed his arm at his shoulder.

    Metz's friend, Luca Digregorio, was the one who called police. Digregorio first became concerned when his friend didn’t show up for their softball game Tuesday night.

    Then one of Metz’s coworkers called Digregorio to say she was also worried, so he decided to check to see what was going on.

    “I rang the doorbell and no one answered,” Digregorio said. “(I) checked the front door. It was locked. (I) went around back and saw the dog in back and I didn’t know what else to do, so I called the cops.”

    Metz’s dog Porsche was helpless during that time as well. Neighbors are now watching the dog and say she is healthy.

    Metz's parents are coming in from out of town to be with him. Ellner said calling the parents was one of the most difficult calls he has ever had to make. 

    Metz will eventually be fitted with a prosthetic. The Today Show reports that his parents and his fiance are enroute from North Carolina.