In the above unusual photo taken in 1932, the 70-year old Dr. Evan O’Neill Kane of Kane, Pennsylvania operated upon himself for inguinal hernia. When performing the complicated surgery Kane was very relaxed and even joking as he came within millimeters of important blood vessels. Because of the close proximity to the femoral artery it was a particularly delicate operation which Kane performed it in just under two hours.
Dr. Kane (1862 – 1933) was a pioneer in the medical profession and chief surgeon of New York City’s Kane Summit Hospital. Kane wanted to prove to the world that general anesthesia was often unnecessary for minor operations. He used himself for a test case and operated on himself removing his own appendix using only local anesthetic in 1921. Dr. Kane propped himself up on the operating table with a mirror over his abdomen and three other doctors in the operating room as backup. Kane made the large incision needed to remove the appendix and his assistants sutured him up. Dr. Kane chatted and laughed throughout the operation. This was before new techniques allowed doctors to make small ‘Band-Aid’-size incisions for appendix removal.