'Smell of Rotting Flesh' Led Man to Try to Amputate Arm

'Human spirit' is strong, says Jonathan Metz
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2010 10:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – After 12 hours of yelling for help after his arm became lodged in a furnace, Jonathan Metz started to consider the unthinkable. The 31-year-old, who became trapped last week after reaching for a fallen vacuum cleaner piece, had begun to smell rotting flesh and knew he had to take action. "It took me about six hours to psych myself up to the point where I thought I was capable of actually doing what I thought needed to be done," Metz said. Some 18 hours in, he fashioned a tourniquet out of his shirt—and started cutting.

Using a power tool blade, he made it halfway before "the pain became absolutely too much to continue." Urged to fight to survive at the thought of his dog, fiancee, and parents, he drank dirty boiler water to fight off dehydration, reports CNN. After three days, worried friends called the police, who ripped apart the furnace and finished amputating his arm. "Human spirit, it's strong," he said yesterday during a hospital news conference. "And trust me, whether it's cutting your arm off or finding some other way, I think all people would be surprised by what they're capable of."

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