Tue, 18 Mar 2003

Man plays doctor with kitchen knife

MAKASSAR, South Sulawesi: Dozens of people in the provincial city of Makassar have allegedly been healed by a self-proclaimed doctor, who uses an ordinary kitchen knife to cut open his patients and remove tumors, kidney stones, other organs and foreign bodies.

Healer Damianus Wera uses no anesthesia, his operations leave no scars, and patients need no bed rest for postoperative recovery. His operations take only four to five minutes.

Damianus said his only tools were a cutter or a kitchen knife, pincers for the extraction, cotton to swab the blood, and bandages to close the wound.

He claimed that none of his patients had returned with the same ailment.

"I didn't feel any pain while my chest was being cut open. In fact, I thought Pak Damianus hadn't even operated on me," said Idrus Abustam, who suffered from a heart problem.

Damianus is also reportedly skilled in extracting small items like nails from patients who believe they have been voodooed.

Similar practices have been reported elsewhere throughout the country, but most have turned out to be hoaxes.

These charlatans do not cut open their patients. Instead, the quack healer palms a piece of chicken liver to produce the effect of blood and use the liver or other innards in a sleight-of-hand to make it look as though something has been removed from the patient's body.

With no real operation having taken place, the patient does not feel any pain, complains of no scars, and can walk home immediately afterwards. -- JP