Unable To Breathe, Man Performs Self-Tracheotomy

An Omaha man saved a life, his own life by getting the courage to turn a knife on himself and perform a tracheotomy.

Steve Wilder has faith in God and after a near death experience last week he has a lot of faith in himself. "I was scared to death. I was thinking about dying."

Just after midnight, Wilder found himself in a dead sleep. Dead because he woke up and couldn't breathe, his air passage swollen shut

"It just blocked all the way and I just got up and I panicked!" The 55-year-old Wilder, who didn't think he had time to call and wait for help, faced an unimaginable choice. Either lie there and suffocate to death or take matters into his own hands with a steak knife.

"Got a knife and located it and pushed in and blood went gush.” Blood was gushing out, but air was gushing in. Wilder was successful at performing a self-tracheotomy. "I think I closed my eyes, but fear or something took over. I didn't feel no pain or nothing."

Surgeons train for years to do what took Wilder only moments, though it wasn’t an entirely new experience. He had throat cancer several years ago, which is where his breathing problems originated. The same thing happened some years back, so he grabbed a steak knife and went to work.

Underneath his bandages, an actual tracheotomy that once healed will allow him to speak normally. Even with his battered voice, he speaks clearly about faith and love for family. "I was thinking about my family and here's what I am saying, I think God had it all to do."

Doctors say don't try this at home. Call 911.