Bizarre case of self mutilation -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Bizarre case of self mutilation

July 6, 2005

Albany-- A cross-dressing man took a circular saw and purposely cut off his foot. Believe it or not, this isn't the first time the man has sawed off a body part.

His neighbors told firefighters that five years ago, he cut off his other foot with a circular saw.

People in the Banner Oaks mobile home park say they weren't surprised to learn that ambulances were on their way to Wendal Nason, Junior's home. They say he's struggled with mental problems for years and his amputation is not a shock.

Neighbors and emergency workers say the 47-year-old Nason's amputation was definitely planned. "She had been talking about five months about cutting off her right leg because she did cut off her left leg," says a neighbor.

They call him "she" because Nason is a transvestite who goes by the name "Sandra." "She has breasts. She wears dresses, makeup. She does everything like we do," Nason's neighbor says.

Around 9:00AM, Firefighters say Nason placed a trash can under his right foot, got a tourniquet ready to stop the bleeding and turned on his saw. After he had severed his foot, Nason called 911 and told them he had cut off his foot with a circular saw. He cautioned them that his door was locked and they'd need to send someone to break in to rescue him.

Firefighters and paramedics rushed to the scene, and once inside, discovered Nason had cut off his right foot, just above the ankle. Neighbors say they aren't surprised. "She cut her left leg off in 2000. She said that she just firmly believes she doesn't need legs and she doesn't want her legs," the neighbor said.

Neighbors say Nason has a history of self-mutilation and enjoys hurting himself. They say he's been in and out of mental hospitals for years.

Still, the group says Nason isn't a bad neighbor and even invited them over Tuesday. "I had to get ready for work and I didn't have time to come down here yesterday. Now I feel bad because I didn't come down here yesterday like she wanted me to, but I couldn't have stopped her," adds another neighbor.

Neighbors say Nason began self-mutilating when he was around 11 years old. They say he just spent about two weeks in the hospital being treated for mental illness and was released less than a week ago.

Wendal Nason underwent surgery and is in good condition.

As bizarre as this whole thing sounds, it's something psychiatrists are familiar with. Dr. Wanda Gobin says she's seen a lot of patients who mutilate themselves, even though this case is extreme. She says the earlier patients start that type of behavior the worse it becomes.

There are several mental illnesses that include amputation of limbs. "Simply that particular amputation or mutilation doesn't point to any specific diagnosis. You have to take the totality of the behaviors. You have to talk to the person to understand what led the person to that behavior," says Gobin.

She says people who mutilate aren't trying to commit suicide, but have constructed what they believe to be a logical reason for their actions. Gobin says about 30% of her patients engage in some type of self-mutilation or amputation.


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