A caesarean section is, to put it bluntly, an operation where they cut the mother open to take the baby out. Until the arrival of modern tools and hygiene, it was a notoriously dangerous procedure. Although it has been practiced since the ancient Roman times, the first record of a mother actually surviving it is from the 16th century. Even most advanced medical equipment hasn't made the C-section safe -- it is estimated to be three times more dangerous than normal birth, even with the most modern tools and equipment.
So what chance would an untrained woman have, stuck in the middle of nowhere with no means of communication, no equipment whatsoever and a baby that just won't come out? Such was the situation Ines Ramirez Perez, a peasant woman living in the mountains of rural Mexico, found herself facing in 2000. Now, when we say rural, we mean rural: the closest midwife was 50 miles away. Perez had no phone. In fact, the whole sparsely-populated village only had one phone, which from her point of view, could have been on the moon.
Yeah, I suppose you can use it. It's a local call, right?
The only person that could help her out of this mess was her husband, who had helped her with all the previous births. Oh, he was sitting in a cantina somewhere, drinking his ass off? Never mind. Twelve hours of near-incapacitating pain pass. Still no baby, or husband for that matter. Perez knew she had to do something.
Via BBC News
Remember that warning we gave you?
At midnight, instead of curling up and giving in to the welcoming darkness that offered refuge from the mind-numbing pain, Perez grabbed a sturdy kitchen knife, had three shots of what was probably tequila and set to work.
She started sawing her belly open in a C-section fashion, despite having no medical training whatsoever. It took her three attempts to get to the uterus, and the wound she ended up inflicting on herself was almost twice as large as a normal C-section incision. All this, and we cannot stress this enough, using a random kitchen knife she had probably been using to chop up ingredients for the dinner stew a few hours earlier.
After what she estimates was about an hour, Perez finally excavated a healthy baby boy. After cutting the umbilical cord, she finally realized what the hell she had done -- and fainted. For just a couple of minutes, though. She had no time to black out. After waking up, her wounds still open, she proceeded to wrap the newborn up in a sweater and send her son to get help.
When we factor in the unsanitary conditions, blood loss, shock and, well, common sense, the ensuing rescue party that arrived a few hours later should've found a very dead woman in a pool of her own blood. Instead, they found Perez (with her wound still open, remember) and the newborn both very much alive and conscious. She survived the following eight-hour car trip to hospital -- because at that point there was probably nothing short of a point blank nuclear missile that could hurt her anymore -- and made a full recovery.
Via Natural Pregnancy Mentor
But her baby always smells like onions. Probably should have washed the knife first.
Perez's case caused quite a stir in the scientific community, as well as the news media. At least one study have been published on the case, the abstract of which basically reads out as "What the hell? Seriously, what the hell?" Perez herself attributes the whole thing to God, and sagely advises against other people following her example as if she genuinely thinks she's at the risk of becoming a trendsetter.
Lithonomy, or surgical kidney stone removal, tends to get a bit too close to a man's private parts for comfort. No one knew this better than blacksmith Jan de Doot, who had gone under the knife in the past. Due to these experiences had also reached a decision: He was going to have nothing to do with that ever again. It might have been because the surgeons in his town were incompetent, or because he had a crippling fear of knives. Our money, however, is on the fact that it was 1651, and the medical profession was still at the "daily dose of mercury" stage.
So naturally, karma being the bitch it is, de Doot the lithonomophobic soon developed a brand new kidney stone. This one was at least as big as the previous ones, and way the hell too large to pass naturally. There was simply no way around it: Jan was facing another surgery. Only this time, you know, screw doctors. De Doot was gonna do that shit himself.
"Nah, just take five, doc, I got this.
So one day, de Doot sent his wife to the fish market, grabbed the surgical knife he'd secretly made (being a smith and all) and set to work.
We honestly don't know how to put this next part delicately. We say again: If you are even the least bit squeamish, turn back now.
So, first, he cut his taint open. Then, he basically jumped up and down until the wound ripped long and deep enough for the stone, lodged in his bladder, to pass through. That's when the problems started. See, kidney stones tend to be no bigger than tiny pebbles. De Doot's was a bit larger than average:
Via Wikimedia Commons
So, yeah, it was basically the size of a large egg. De Doot had figured it'd basically just drop out of the wound, but being the size it was the stone didn't fit through.
So Jan patched himself up and, tail between his legs, scurried off to the lithonomist's.
Ha, just kidding! He totally stuck his hand in and ripped the stone out until, to quote an old medical text, "it finally popped out of hiding with an explosive noise and tearing of the bladder." After that, he calmly sent for someone to patch him up.
Yeah, we don't blame you, buddy.
He performed all this by himself, assisted only by his brother who participated by holding de Doot's scrotum aside (an act that automatically wins you Brother of the Century). Sources vary on what happened after that, mainly due to chroniclers being too busy cringing and holding their crotch with both hands. But whether de Doot perished due to complications of the operation or went on to live a long, fulfilling life, his legacy continues to give the finger to modern medicine.
Damn, that story isn't No. 1 on the list? What the hell could be more unsettling than that?
Oh come on. Surely no one ... we mean, out of the thousands of medical procedures out there, the one we'd least think people are performing voluntarily on themselves is cock lopping.
Boy, are we going to be proven wrong.
The thing with gender reassignment operations is they are lengthy, challenging processes that feature a lot of waiting and analyzing due to the irreversibility of the process and all the psychological issues involved -- not to mention the impressive wad of cash that is needed for the hormone treatments and the actual operation. To hell with all that!
You have 17 minutes to get me a vagina, or I'll take matters into my own hands.
Which brings us to Roland Mery, a former soldier who had secretly suffered from gender issues throughout his life, but couldn't afford to have the work done by the pros. So one day, at 61-years of age, Mery took his homemade surgery kit, gulped down a couple of painkillers he happened to have lying around and locked himself in the bathroom. There, he proceeded to perform genital correction surgery on himself, losing two pints of blood in the process before staggering out of the bathroom, pale and bleeding, to announce his wife that he's finally "done it," and (presumably) "please please please call an ambulance because my crotch is bleeding profusely."
"Honey, we need to talk ..."
Yes, we said wife. Did we mention she had been home all along, calmly watching TV in the living room while Mery was grafting himself a brand new crotch? And Mery had forgotten to mention to her that he'd be much happier as a she?
Insanely, not only did Mery survive -- he succeeded. Not to the point of being a fully physically functional female, of course, but enough for the doctors to basically just patch the wound up, take a look at what was done, and say: "Yeah, that's pretty much how we would've done it too."
Impressive work. You look more feminine already.
Even the wife didn't mind much, after the initial shock -- turns out, they had been through so much during their marriage that a minor thing like a husband turning into a wife during a bathroom break was not such a big deal after all. And that, friends, is a goddamned marriage.
For more medical horrors, check out 8 Terrifying Instruments Old-Time Doctors Used on Your Junk and The 7 Most Pointlessly Horrifying Plastic Surgery Procedures.