Determined to Amputate: One Man's Struggle With Body Integrity Identity Disorder

Fox News:

Determined to Amputate: One Man’s Struggle With Body Integrity Identity Disorder

** It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to lose a limb. But for people living with Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), it’s a burning desire that haunts them every day of their lives.**
For “John,” it’s a feeling that has consumed him for as long as he can remember.
“The first thing I can remember was when I was about 4 or 5 years old and in kindergarten — and I remember riding in the subway, and opposite me, one of the kids in the play group had no left hand — that was apparent — and I was really very curious about this… and I got up and crossed the car and tried to put my hand up his sleeve to try and figure out where his hand was,” he told in an anonymous phone interview.

“John” also recalled several other vivid memories including one incident that happened when he was between the ages of 7 and 11.
“I remember two buses going in the same direction, and I was standing by the second bus, and I said to myself, ‘if I just stick my leg under the rear wheel of the bus, it will run over it and it will have to get cut off,’ and then I can remember saying to myself: ‘How will I ever explain why I did this.’”

. . . . .

Most people think anyone who wants to amputate a healthy limb has to be crazy — but John said that is certainly not the case. He said he has seen several psychiatrists, and all of them have concluded that he’s perfectly sane.
“They said there’s nothing else wrong with me — I just have this odd sort of dependency.”
Now in his “senior years,” as he calls them, “John” said he is feeling more pressure to carry out his lifelong desire.
But the fact is — people with BIID are left with very few options.
In 2000, Dr. Robert C. Smith, a surgeon from Scotland, made headlines when he amputated the healthy legs of two patients with BIID He said he was following the Hippocratic Oath by preventing his patients from resorting to more life-threatening options — but the medical community did not agree. Since then, it’s been virtually impossible for a person to find a surgeon willing to do the elective surgery, and many people with BIID have resorted to drastic and dangerous measures to induce amputation.

So should people who want to be amputees be able to get their wish?

And if not, how are they different from ‘transgenders’ who get mutilated in sex-change operations? In both caes the individual has a psychological image of him/herself at odds with the physical reality.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit