11/10/2013 08:38 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Zheng Yanliang, Chinese Farmer Amputates Own Leg Because He Couldn't Pay For An Operation (PICTURES)

A farmer suffering from gangrene has amputated his own leg after he was unable to afford to have the procedure carried out at a hospital.

Zheng Yanliang used a sharped fruit knife and a hacksaw to remove the diseased limb.

The 47-year-old's ordeal began in January when he went to hospital with leg pains and was told he was suffering from a blocked artery.

Zheng Yanliang amputated his own leg after it became gangrenous

He said. "It was very painful and they gave me medication but it didn't help."

Zheng went to several hospitals in Beijing and Hebei but each time he was sent home to his farm in in Qingyuan county's Dongzang village, with still more medication.

He said: "Sometimes the pain was so intense I would pass out, then after three months when it was really bad, they told me that an infection had set in, that I had gangrene, and that I might lose the limb.

"Ideally I needed it to be operated on, but I could not afford it. They just gave me medication. They sent me home to die."

Photo gallery Farmer amputates own leg See Gallery

But Zheng refused to accept his fate, and when his wife was asleep in the bedroom next door, he took a saw and a knife and proceeded to cut off his leg.

He said: "I had a wooden back scratcher, I wrapped a towel around it, and bit on it so I did not scream and wake my wife, then I used the knife to slice the skin and pull it back so I could see the bone. Then I used the saw to slice through the bone after putting a belt around the leg to stop the blood flow.

"I did not want to distress my wife, but I had to wake her when the hacksaw blade broke."

In fact Zheng, had been in such pain that he had broken two teeth as he bit down on the towel that was wrapped around the wood.

The operation saved his life, but now the open wound that still shows a stump of bone has led to a fresh infection, this time in his left leg. Doctors say he will not be able to save his remaining foot - and he needs an operation if he is not to lose the entire left leg.

As Zheng's condition worsens, Zheng's wife, who suffers from diabetes and heart disease, is forced to tend to the farm on her own.

The family's only financial support comes from their 17-year-old daughter, who dropped out of school to take a job.

Donations for Zheng and his family can be made via telephone number listed on ChinaSmack.