“They said his comment was, ‘This will make me the chief of my tribe,’” said Costa Mesa Battalion Chief Scott Broussard, who like others in the department, heard about the incident the next morning.
The man thought the weight from the steel object would make his organ longer, but what he did to it almost rendered it useless, authorities said.
The steel collar-like fastener cut off circulation to the man’s penis, said Capt. Dave Kearley. As a result, blood could not flow out of it, and it swelled to the point that the man couldn’t remove the ring, Kearley said.
Broussard added that doctors at Hoag had told the man, who refused immediate treatment, that if he waited any longer to remove the fastener, the flesh in his penis would die.
“He was kind of a wingnut,” Broussard said.
Staff kept him in the hospital under a psychiatric hold and called the Fire Department to come remove the item because they didn’t have the tools to do it, Broussard said. Medical personnel tied down the man to a table and sedated him for the emergency, he said.
Firefighters had to don full surgery garb, including masks and scrubs.
The men constructed a watering system to keep the sparks from the sawing — which were flying half-way across the room — from injuring the patient as they cut through the inch-thick ring around his penis.
The delicate procedure took two hours.
“They also slid a little piece of metal between the collar and his thing, so if it slipped past it wouldn’t hit his thing,” Broussard said.
If anything, the incident demonstrated the versatility of the city firefighters’ rescue skills, Broussard said.
“If we’re cutting people out of some kind of building, or if we’re cutting right up next to somebody’s flesh and don’t damage his flesh, then it’s a good day,” he said.