There's a fascinating section in this book I'm currently reading about a mental illness called "body integrity identity disorder" or BIID. People with BIID seek elective amputations of their limbs because they feel it's a foreign object and they go to great lengths to remove the limb. Some have used guns to shoot off a hand; some stick a leg in a woodchipper; others use dry ice to destroy the limb, forcing surgeons to remove it.
"I feel that my legs don't belong to me and shouldn't be there." (from 'Falling into the Fire', Christine Montross)
There is currently no medical treatment for this disease. The only relief comes when the limb is amputated. Without the amputation, the sufferer feels extreme discomfort. What should the physician do?
I wouldn't want to pay for someone's elective surgery, especially something expensive like an amputation, but if the individual is aware of the consequences of such a request, then he should have the right to mutilate his body. What say you?