Almost a third of working Americans are in some form of medical debt, with nearly a quarter of those with an outstanding balance owing $10,000 or more. Many Americans feel anxious about health care costs and are depleting their own savings to pay the bills, or avoiding going to the doctor due to the cost, and in some cases, as in the case of William Osman, embarking on bizarre projects to highlight the issue.
The YouTuber and engineer, who is known for his bizarre projects that combine engineering and entertainment, posted a video last week outlining how a recent hospital visit requiring X-rays resulted in a staggering $69,210.32 bill.
He explains that, thanks to his health insurance policy, he will only have to pay roughly $2,500, and that, when combined with annual insurance costs, the total will be around $8,500. In a comedic sequence, he laments, "I'm a slave to medical debt now. I have to sell all my things, I have to sell my friends' belongings." Then, he embarks on an extremely reckless and risky endeavor to build his own fully functional X-ray machine for less than the cost of his actual medical expenses.
The project sounds suspiciously like the start of a new superhero origin story, with Osman transforming into the 'Radiation Man' at the end of the video to avoid paying for X-rays for the rest of his life. And it doesn't help that he declares "My will to do science is significantly stronger than my will to live," at one point either. Building a DIY X-ray machine can be extremely dangerous indeed; however, as an engineer experienced in bizarre projects such as using BattleBot 'Red Devil' to destroy an office, he takes all necessary safeguards to ensure that it is running as safely as possible.
And he actually achieves what he sets out to do in his garage, as detailed in the 17-minute video. Osman manages to construct a working X-ray machine out of a $400 60,000-volt power supply, a $155 X-ray vacuum tube salvaged from a discarded dental X-ray head, multiple Geiger counters, and a roll of lead sheet metal. He calls it his "magnum opus," saying, "This is the most dangerous contraption I have ever built."
The dangers of the project should be further emphasized though. A thorough understanding of radiation safety and proper radiation shielding materials are absolutely crucial, and since X-Ray machines require a high voltage power supply, the output could be deadly if mishandled. With great care, Osman manages to pull it off, and the project does make for an entertaining video, so make sure you check it out below: