Knife skills give man breath of fresh air

May 20, 2008 at 8:33 PM
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OMAHA, May 20 (UPI) -- A knife to the throat was a good thing for an Omaha man who performed a tracheotomy on himself, a move his doctor says wasn't such a bad idea.

Steve Wilder, 55, performed the do-it-yourself operation after he awoke unable to breathe, ABC News reported Tuesday. Wilder, concerned about whether the rescue squad would reach him in time, raced to his kitchen, found a steak knife, then made a slit through his throat so air could pass through his windpipe unobstructed.

It's not like the 55-year-old truck driver hadn't done the procedure before. He did the same thing in 2006 when he thought he couldn't breathe.

"I did what I did the first time. I took a knife and opened it up," Wilder told ABC. "I did it to save my life."

The problem began after Wilder underwent radiation treatment for throat cancer four years ago.

His doctor, Paul Sherrerd, has placed a permanent tube in Wilder's throat to help him breathe when needed.

"As crazy as it sounds," Sherrerd said of Wilder's emergency operation, "it probably wasn't the craziest thing to do."

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