Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic

When Russian surgeon Leonid Rogozov fell ill while on an Antarctic expedition in 1961, he was one of twelve people stationed at a remote polar outpost, and the only physician of the group. He knew the symptoms; he was suffering from acute appendicitis. To survive, his appendix would have to come out, and he would have to perform the operation on himself.

When Rogozov had made the incision and was manipulating his own innards as he removed the appendix, his intestine gurgled, which was highly unpleasant for us; it made one want to turn away, flee, not look—but I kept my head and stayed. Artemev and Teplinsky also held their places, although it later turned out they had both gone quite dizzy and were close to fainting . . . Rogozov himself was calm and focused on his work, but sweat was running down his face and he frequently asked Teplinsky to wipe his forehead . . . The operation ended at 4 am local time. By the end, Rogozov was very pale and obviously tired, but he finished everything off.

(via kottke)

01.21.2010Tagged with: