Engineer performs operation on HIMSELF after his NHS surgery was cancelled twice

  • Graham Smith had bowel surgery at Aintree Hospital 15 years ago
  • Was left with surgical stitches which started coming through his abdomen 
  • Engineer was due to have surgery to remove them but op was postponed
  • Used dental tools to remove them himself after developing septicaemia  

Kate Pickles For Mailonline



A desperate patient who was left with surgical stitches in his body took matters into his own hands by operating on himself to remove them.

Graham Smith adapted tools to perform surgery after the operation he needed was cancelled twice and he developed septicaemia.

He admitted it was a reckless move – and recommended others not to try it at home – but said the pain had become so bad, he had little alternative. 

Graham Smith, an engineer, said he knew operating on himself was ‘foolhardy’ but said he would prefer to die trying than waiting to be seen by hospital doctors

‘I didn’t make the decision lightly – I was desperate, but I had to take control of it and I was not prepared to sit and die on a waiting list,’ Mr Smith, of Lancashire, told the BBC

‘There was a bit of blood and it stung a bit but I was confident in what I was doing.

‘I’d have rather have died trying rather than of septicaemia.’ 

Engineer Mr Smith first underwent bowel surgery 15 years ago at Aintree Hospital, Liverpool, when a suture was left in his abdomen.

He brought it to their attention in 2011 after he noticed part of the stitches protruding through his skin.

But at least two operations to remove it were cancelled, the hospital confirmed to the BBC.

Mr Smith adapted the titanium dental instruments and pliers which were given to him by a friend.

The sutures Graham Smith removed from his body after his operation was cancelled twice

He said there was a small lump of nylon protruding from his abdomen, which measured 8mm long with 12 tight, compressed knots.

Fearing cutting it off would do more damage than good, he carefully undid the knots one by one. 

In a statement, the hospital said Mr Smith had been informed he could have an appointment with the original surgeon on Monday – before he operated on himself.  

A spokesperson said: ‘We would always advise that any patient who has concerns such as these seeks clinical advice.

‘We will be in touch with Mr Smith to discuss his care.’

A spokesman for the Royal College of Surgeon said they would ‘strongly advise’ against people performing surgery on themselves. 

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