Everyone knows that the Swiss Army knife is a universal and multipurpose tool that can be used for pretty much anything. However, this week it was used for something that even the creators might not have guessed: an amputation.

After the devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, where nearly 100 people have been confirmed dead, hundreds of others were trapped beneath rubble and debris.

One of these trapped people, only identified as Brian, had his legs pinned beneath a collapsed building and needed to have both his legs amputated or he would have died.

According to Dr. Stuart Philip, who oversaw the amputation, a Swiss Army knife was the only tool available:

“There wasn’t really any other option. Essentially the procedure was performed with a Swiss Army knife. I know that sounds terrible, but that’s all we had,” Philip told the Dominion Post newspaper.

The pain would have probably been too unbearable had there not been an anaesthetist available to help ease some of the agony. Though most of the operation was done with the knife, the remainder was completed with a hacksaw.

In a similar incident now immortalized in the film “127 Hours,” hiker Aron Ralston was also forced to amputate his arm using a pocketknife.

These life or death incidents are extreme to the point that they’re almost unbelievable. One thing these episodes do very well is make a case for always having a Swiss Army knife or pocketknife on hand because you never know when you’re going to need it.


Tim

Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at Tim@knife-depot.com.
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