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Footing the Bill

Lacking insurance, sufficient wealth and a helping hand from Medicaid or Medicare, Paul Morgan will amputate his injured feet himself. Watch it on the Web for $19.99!
 
 
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When in doubt, cut it out.

That's what 33-year-old Paul Morgan decided years ago, after numerous surgeries, indescribable pain and feet that just won't work like they should. So he's started a Web site ( www.cutoffmyfeet.com), he's building a guillotine, and, if all goes as planned, hundreds of people will pay $19.99 to watch the Web-cast as he amputates his own ambulators on Halloween.

Crazy, you ask? Frighteningly enough, it actually makes some sense. Morgan was in a bad accident back in 1986. He was riding in the bed of a pickup truck, which was towing a boat. While travelling 50-plus miles an hour, Morgan decided to climb from the truck into the boat. He never made it. After falling from the truck, the boat was pulled on top of him, partially breaking his vertebrate. Because of this, he can't feel his feet and has limited use of his legs. He wears braces around his atrophied appendages, which allow him to walk at about half speed.

With all of the medical developments that have happened in the last 15 years, Morgan knows that with the help of prosthetics, he can walk, run and be normal again. Problem is, neither Medicaid nor Medicare will cover the cost of the amputation or the prosthetics, because his legs don't offer any kind of threat to his health.

So he's taken matters into his own hands, er, feet. And the if-it-bleeds, it-leads newshounds across the country have eaten it up. Morgan has been on Howard Stern's radio show, as well as other shows broadcast in Detroit, Philadelphia, Toronto, Miami, Palm Beach, and Dallas, just to name a few.

"I knew this would grip the media like this. I'm trying to pump it up to so I can make the money for it, chop my feet off, then I can get the prosthetic, then I'm good to go," he says. He hopes to bring at least $250,000.

But in a country where it's illegal to take your own life, is it legal to sacrifice your own limbs? In Morgan's home state of Mississippi, it appears he could be able to get away with it.

"In Mississippi, the only thing applicable could be breaking mayhem laws, which would be a maximum of seven years, but they can't really do anything until I amputate them."

In the meantime, he's got a lot of work to do. Morgan says that he's looking for any kind of suggestions on building the guillotine. Once that's constructed, he'll place meat in it, to make sure that it will quickly and cleanly do the trick. He's not yet decided what his animal of choice is. "Something, the carcass, so its got meat and bone tissue on it. Whatever I'll be testing on will be much bigger than my legs," he explained, calmly.

He'll have doctors standing by and will get a local anesthetic in his legs. Although he can't feel anything below his feet, the guillotine will slice his legs about an inch above his ankles-an area he can feel. Still, he says he's not nervous about the procedure.

"Nervous? No, not so much. The only thing I'm nervous about is taking proper precautionary measures. Actually cutting them off, no, I don't have a problem with that."

Morgan says he's asked all the time if he'll put the feet up on eBay. He won't--it's illegal to sell body parts in the United States. So he plans to have them frozen, in the hopes that some day there will be enough medical advances that he can use them again. But he's gotten some interesting emails with ideas suggesting what he could do with his feet.

"I've gotten emails from a cannibal who actually wants to eat my feet," he says. "It was a very tactful letter. I read it, and I said 'What do I say to that?'"

How about "Pass the fillet of sole?"