Incredible fortitude and courage: how a Russian doctor operated on himself

Incredible fortitude and courage: how a Russian doctor operated on himself

Categories: Health and Medicine | History

Usually, when researchers go on long trips, a doctor is next to them to provide assistance if necessary. So, one of the participants of the Antarctic expedition in 1961 suddenly had a stomach ache on the right side, the temperature rose and vomiting appeared. There was no doubt, it was appendicitis. But ironically, the patient turned out to be a surgeon, who usually monitored the health of his wards. He found the only way out of this situation — he operated on himself.

Incredible fortitude and courage: how a Russian doctor operated on himself

In the evening of April 29, the surgeon Leonid Ivanovich Rogozov, who was on an Antarctic expedition, found all the signs of appendicitis. He tried to remove the pain symptoms by resting, antibiotics, applying cold, but nothing helped. The bad weather that broke out made it impossible to transport it to the desired station "Novolazarevskaya". Without much hesitation, Leonid made a strong-willed decision: to operate on himself.

Incredible fortitude and courage: how a Russian doctor operated on himself

His assistants were a meteorologist, a mechanic and a station manager who had no idea about operations. Leonid Rogozov quickly instructed each of them and even tried to cheer up his comrades, whose eyes were round with horror.

Incredible fortitude and courage: how a Russian doctor operated on himself

Leonid Rogozov after the operation at the Novolazarevskaya station with his friend Yuri Vereshchagin.

The surgeon performed the operation without gloves. I had to do everything by touch, because in the mirror held by the mechanic, everything was reflected the other way around. The operation lasted 1 hour and 45 minutes. Within half an hour after its start, the doctor began to rest every 4-5 minutes. Leonid forbade himself to think about what would happen if he failed, and continued to work.

Incredible fortitude and courage: how a Russian doctor operated on himself

Pictures of Leonid Rogozov after returning from the expedition.

The surgeon performed everything clearly: he cut out the appendix, injected an antibiotic and sewed up the incision. A few days later, the temperature dropped, the young doctor felt better and removed the stitches. This case was the only one in medical practice when a person cut out his own appendix.

Incredible fortitude and courage: how a Russian doctor operated on himself

A newspaper clipping about Rogozov's feat.

Keywords: Health and medicine | History | Surgery | Doctors | Spirit | Courage

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