Unable to afford hospital bills, Hebei man saws off own infected leg

PHOTO: Unable to afford hospital bills, Hebei man saws off own infected leg

A man from Hebei, China, took matters into his own hands when the searing pain from a leg ailment became too much to bear.

According to a report on China Daily, Zheng Yanliang was diagnosed with arterial thrombosis of the lower limbs in early 2012.

The 47-year-old farmer from Qingyuan county had started to experience bouts of intolerable pain in his abdomen which would travel down to both of his legs, Chinese media reported.

He soon became no longer able to stand because of the pain, and tests finally showed that all of the arteries in his right leg were completely gone.

Arterial thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot inside an artery, obstructing the flow of blood through the circulatory system. It can lead to oxygen deprivation and metabolic products such as lactic acid can accumulate. A larger thrombus causing a much greater obstruction to the blood flow may result in anoxia, the complete deprivation of oxygen and tissue death.

Zheng's condition quickly deteriorated with his legs beginning to fester and maggots were crawling out.

The pain was so intense that he found it hard to concentrate and neighbours could sometimes hear him screaming so loud that they could not sleep, Shanghaiist reported.

The family was too poor too afford the exorbitant fees asked for by local hospitals. "Ideally I needed it to be operated on, but I could not afford it. They just gave me medication. They sent me home to die,"  Huffington Post quoted him as saying.

Finally, at his wit's end, he took a knife and hacksaw and cut off his almost necrotic right leg. Fortunately, because of the thrombosis, there was not much blood during the amputation and he did not suffer from severe blood loss.

Plea for help

Plea for help

"I had a wooden back scratcher, I wrapped a towel around it, and bit on it so I did not scream and wake my wife, then I used the knife to slice the skin and pull it back so I could see the bone. Then I used the saw to slice through the bone after putting a belt around the leg to stop the blood flow," he said.

He was in so much pain that he broke four molars while biting down on the back scratcher.

Although he has for the time being earned some respite from the pain in his right leg, Zheng is starting to experience the excruciating pain in his left.

His other leg is also in a terrible state and his left foot is a festering mass of sores.

Zheng allowed a Chinese reporter to interview him and reached out to his community in hope for funds to help him pay for an artificial limb.

He is doing it so that he can carry on with his life and take care of his family. As Zheng's condition worsens, Zheng's wife, who suffers from diabetes and heart disease, is forced to tend to the farm on her own.

After his story went viral online, he was offered medical observation and further treatment by a hospital in Baoding - a city 150km northeast of provincial capital Shujiazhuang.

Ge Changqing, director of the hospital, said that the treatment will be free and that they will take care of all the medical related expenses.