Surgeon removes own appendix!

I couldn't resist a tabloid section…The story is too good.

Russian surgeon-thumb-600x384-44559


In April 1961, Dr. Leonid Rogozov was the only physician stationed with eleven other men at the new Soviet Antarctic Station. He wasn't feeling well, then developed a sweating fever followed by peritonitis localized in the right lower quadrant of his abdomen. Correctly diagnosing his own appendicitis,

I did not sleep at all last night. It hurts like the devil! A snowstorm whipping through my soul, wailing like a hundred jackals. Still no obvious symptoms that perforation is imminent, but an oppressive feeling of foreboding hangs over me ... This is it ... I have to think through the only possible way out: to operate on myself ... It's almost impossible ... but I can't just fold my arms and give up.

Dr. Rogozov felt that his only option was to remove his own appendix, an operation that he conducted using local anesthesia. The procedure took one hour and 45 minutes.

I worked without gloves. It was hard to see. The mirror helps, but it also hinders -- after all, it's showing things backwards. I work mainly by touch. The bleeding is quite heavy, but I take my time -- I try to work surely. Opening the peritoneum, I injured the blind gut and had to sew it up. Suddenly it flashed through my mind: there are more injuries here and I didn't notice them ... I grow weaker and weaker, my head starts to spin. Every 4-5 minutes I rest for 20-25 seconds. Finally, here it is, the cursed appendage! With horror I notice the dark stain at its base. That means just a day longer and it would have burst.

At the worst moment of removing the appendix I flagged: my heart seized up and noticeably slowed; my hands felt like rubber. Well, I thought, it's going to end badly. And all that was left was removing the appendix ... And then I realised that, basically, I was already saved.

Dr. Rogozov recuperated for two weeks, then returned to full duty at the station. He returned home to a quiet life in Mother Russia.

Sources: The British Medical Journal, and The Atlantic Monthly