June 7 was a typical Monday evening for 31-year-old Jonathan Metz. While he was heating up dinner in the microwave, he decided to run downstairs for what he thought would be a five-minute repair to the boiler.
An Ordinary Day Turns into a Three-Day Fight for Survival
However, while he was cleaning the heating vent on the furnace boiler, he dropped a tool and reached in to get it. The fins of the boiler trapped Jonathan’s arm and he became stuck. He screamed for help for more than 12 hours, but no one heard him. Two days later, his arm was still trapped in the boiler; he decided his best chance for survival was to use a nearby hacksaw blade to cut off his own arm.
During his days of entrapment, Jonathan struggled with every emotion and even contemplated death. But the more he thought about it, the more he thought about the things he had to live for: his fiancée, his parents, his friends, and his dog Portia who had been upstairs without food or water while he was trapped. “That’s really when some of the more important things in my life came to the forefront.” Metz said. “I came to the conclusion that I had a lot to live for.”
What Would MacGyver Do?
Jonathan knew survival was the only option and began to think, “What would MacGyver do?” He made a tourniquet from his shirt and reached for a hacksaw. He amputated as much as possible. He then waited for help; surviving by drinking rusty furnace water from his flip-flop. MacGyver would be proud.
On Wednesday, 18 hours after Jonathan cut through most of his arm, a concerned co-worker called authorities to check on him. Rescue workers found Jonathan trapped in his basement. Using heavy equipment, they were able to pry him free and rush him to the hospital where doctors finished the amputation. Even though he couldn’t complete the amputation, doctors said that Jonathan saved his life by cutting away the flesh, which would have infected him with blood poisoning and probably killed him before help arrived.
New Technology Restores Hope
Jonathan was fit by the Wethersfield, Connecticut-based Hanger Clinic with the U.S. first production model of the newest bionic hand available in the world, the bebionic hand. As with all amputee patients, Hanger Clinic evaluated Jonathan’s residual limb, as well as his individual functionality requirements, to develop a customized solution tailored to his needs. Jonathan’s prosthetic arm, including the elbow, socket system, and electrodes within the socket that allow Jonathan to control the hand, were all custom-fitted by his prosthetist Troy Farnsworth and a Hanger Clinic team including Al Maciunas, Matt Mikosz, Jon Zafiris, Leigh Radziwon, Dennis Huysman, John Redfield, and the local Hanger Clinic Wethersfield, Connecticut patient care clinic team.
On November 13th, Jonathan wed his fiancée Melissa in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jonathan says that this experience gave him “a kick in the pants” and he is moving forward to pursue his dreams.