15 March 2011

Surgeon performs self-appendectomy (50 years ago)

Wow. I didn't know this ever actually happened:

Antarctica, 1961: A Soviet Surgeon Has to Remove His Own Appendix

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

 

More complete case report here in the BMJ.

11 comments:

  1. And this year's winner of the Stephen Maturin Award is...

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  2. A woman doctor in Antarctica did her own breast lumpectomy/biopsy several years ago too. What are these people made of that go explore and be so brave?

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  3. Sometimes I cringe when I use a nail clipper to take care of a hangnail. Hats off to this surgeon.

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  4. huevos grandes

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  5. If you want a more entertaining version of the story I recommend: http://www.badassoftheweek.com/rogozov.html

    What he writes if more of the history book you wish you had in highschool.

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  6. Monty Python had a guide to taking your appendix out on the Piccadilly Line in one of their books.

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  7. KKK -- and who took the picture?

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  8. Caustic Soda Podcast did a whole episode on Self Surgery, including Rogozov's incredlbe feat.

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  9. I guess he had never read the experience of the British Navy from the 1950's with acute appendicitis. IV antibiotic treatment can delay or even obviate the need for emergency appendectomy.

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