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Disabled Mississippi Man to Cut Off Feet on Web

Thursday August 30 8:00 AM ET Disabled Mississippi Man to Cut Off Feet on Web

LUMBERTON, Miss. (Reuters) - A disabled Mississippi man said on Wednesday he was planning to amputate his feet with a homemade guillotine and broadcast the procedure live on the Internet to raise money for new prosthetic legs.

Paul Morgan, a 33-year-old student who was paralyzed below the knees after falling out of a truck in 1986, seized upon the idea after his insurance company refused to pay to have his lower legs amputated and fitted with titanium prosthetic devices.

Morgan, an avid sportsman before his accident, said the surgery and prosthetics would allow him to walk normally and resume his love of running and water sports.

Morgan needs about $150,000 to cover the cost of the prosthetics, follow-up surgery and rehabilitation. Only 20 people so far have agreed to pay $19.99 to watch the Oct. 31 broadcast on Morgan's web site,

"People are still a little bit skeptical, but that should change once I have the guillotine built," said Morgan, who is building a 12- to 15-foot stainless steel device modeled on those used to chop off heads during the French Revolution.

Morgan, a resident of Lumberton, Mississippi, about 60 miles northwest of Biloxi, said the amputation would occur near his ankles and that further surgery would be required to remove the rest of his lower legs.

Conceding that most of his family was opposed to the idea, Morgan said he would use tourniquets to stem bleeding from the amputation and noted that medical personnel would be on scene in the event of an emergency.

A spokeswoman for Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore said state officials had been in touch with Morgan's lawyer about the matter.

"We have heard about this and we have contacted his attorney because we are concerned," said Nancy East, Moore's spokeswoman.

East said the state had offered to have Morgan evaluated by a surgeon in Jackson, the state capital, if Morgan agreed not to go ahead with the amputation.

East said the Internet amputation could violate a number of state laws, including a mayhem statute and laws protecting consumers from fraud.

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