Man gives himself a tracheotomy

May 20, 2008 6:19:32 AM PDT
"Was I scared? Heck yeah! I didn't want to cut myself."

Steve Wilder of Omaha, Neb., shows on Friday, May 9, 2008, the steak knife he used to perform a self-tracheotomy at his home. Wilder awoke the night of April 30, 2008 and felt himself suffocating. His wife, Cora, called an ambulance, but fearing it would not arrive in time, he bolted for the kitchen, picked up a steak knife and made a quarter-inch incision. Wilder says he did the same thing to himself two years ago.

Wilder, a truck driver from Omaha, Neb., was asleep in his basement two weeks ago and awoke when he found himself unable to breathe. Afraid that the rescue squad would not get to his home in time, Wilder ran into his kitchen, grabbed a steak knife and made a slit through his throat so that his windpipe could get air, unobstructed.

This was the second time Wilder had taken matters into his own hands. Wilder performed a self-tracheotomy in 2006 under similar circumstances, when he felt he could not breathe.

"I did what I did the first time. I took a knife and opened it up," Wilder said, in his high-pitched, broken voice. "I did it to save my life."