Inés Ramírez Pérez of Rio Talea, Mexico, is known for being one of the only confirmed people to have successfully completed a Caesarian section on herself. She went into labour with her ninth child at the age of 40 in March of 2000 while alone in her cabin; her husband was out drinking, and the nearest midwife was 50 miles away over poor-quality roads. Rio Talea itself had 500 people and a telephone, but it wasn’t close enough for Ramírez to reach. Ramírez was accustomed to childbirth – her eldest child was now 25 – but her eighth child had died during labour due to the lack of a way to conduct a Caesarian section, and Ramírez was determined not to see the same thing happen this time. She had no medical training, but decided to deliver her own child by Caesarian. After twelve hours of excruciating labour pain, Ramírez drank some liquor of almost 100-proof, then found a large knife and stabbed herself in the abdomen. It took her three tries to get an incision started, plus it was night and the only light was a small bulb. But she managed to cut a 17-centimetre-long gash vertically downwards from the right side of her navel. Blood started pouring out immediately, and getting to the uterus took Ramírez an hour, but she stayed alert and delivered a baby boy. With a pair of scissors, she cut the umbilical cord; and after a brief period of unconsciousness, used clothing to bandage the wound, then sent one of her older children to get help.
A village health-assistant arrived within a few hours and temporarily sewed the incision shut. Ramírez was transferred to a clinic several kilometres away, then to the closest hospital. She underwent two surgeries in the next week: one to repair damage to her intestines, and another to close the incision site.
It was fortunate for Ramírez that her position during the self-directed surgery made the womb close to the incision site. She was also extremely lucky in that she did not simply pass out due to pain and/or shock partway through the surgery. Furthermore, the enormous open wound in a very non-sterile environment did not lead to infection, which was improbable.
Ramírez and her baby son, Orlando, survived the surgery. Ramírez was released from hospital after only about a week, and has since made a full recovery. The surgery has left behind a large scar but no problematic side-effects. Her case not only got attention in the media, but also from the medical community; it was reported on in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics in 2004. As of 2004, the knife was still in Ramírez’s kitchen. She used it to cut fruits and vegetables.