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In 1961 a Soviet general practitioner had to perform surgery on himself!

Science Story: In 1961 a Soviet general practitioner had to perform surgery on himself!

This incredible story happened during the 6th Soviet Antarctic expedition. The 27-year-old Leonid Rogozov was the only doctor in the team of 15 researchers. On April 29, 1961 Leonid suddenly felt sick. Being an experienced doctor, the man diagnosed acutely inflamed appendix.


Several years before the event, in 1953, Leonid was admitted to the Leningrad Pediatric Medical Institute (now Saint Petersburg). After graduating in 1959 as a general practitioner, he started clinical training to specialize in surgery. In September 1960, at the age of 26, he interrupted his training and joined the above-mentioned expedition.

Since Leonid was the sole doctor at the Novolazarevskaya Station and the weather was non-flying, he made a brave decision to carry out appendectomy himself.

On the 30th of April he wrote in his diary:

"I seem to have appendicitis. I don't tell anybody about it and even smile. Why should I scare my friends? They can't help me anyway. […] I still don't have clear symptoms that an operation is inevitable, but I'm filled with apprehension… I have to think about the only possible way out – to operate on myself… This is nearly impossible, but I can't give up!"

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By the evening, Leonid's condition became worse and it was decided to perform a procedure as soon as possible. The doctor chose three assistants: the meteorologist Alexander Artemyev, the mechanic Zinovy Teplinsky and the chief of the station Vladislav Gerbovich. The first had to pass the necessary surgical instruments, the second had to hold a lamp and a mirror so that Leonid could see the areas not directly visible. The third assistant was present in the room just in case: he was to substitute any of the other two if they lost consciousness.

The doctor decided to operate without gloves because he had to do almost everything by touch. Lying on a bed, he used a solution of 0.5% novocaine for local anesthesia and then made a 10–12 cm incision of the abdominal wall.

"I didn't let myself think about anything but the procedure… If I had fainted Alexander would have given me a special injection… My poor assistants! I looked at them the last moment before we started: they were almost as pale as their white gowns. I was afraid too. After the novocaine injection I managed to concentrate on the operation and didn't notice anything else."

"The hardest thing was to find and remove the inflamed appendix even with the help of a mirror. I did almost everything by touch. I got weaker every minute and had to make 25-second pauses to have a rest. Finally, I found it! The last stage was the most difficult: my heart started beating slowly, my hands didn't obey me though the only thing left to do was to remove the appendix."

After 1 hour and 45 minutes, the operation was complete. Five days later body temperature returned to normal. The stitches were removed seven days after the operation.

This case of self-surgery became very famous. People all over the world were impressed by the man's courage. Later this year (1961) Leonid Rogozov was awarded Order of the Red Banner of Labor.

#Science #History


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Your opinion matters
39 Comments
Donna Lynn Price
Donna Lynn Price
the Doctor was crazy but his life was important enough to push him to do surgery on himself
2
Oct 1, 2015 7:52PM
Danny More
Danny More
WOW! Just WOW! What a guy......
2
Oct 1, 2015 10:19PM
Fran Va
Fran Va
Brave
0
Oct 2, 2015 11:58AM
Paulett Simunich
Paulett Simunich
Self-preservation is a wonderful innate feeling.......He had nothing to lose but his life.......super human focus......I am intrigued as to his pain level.....More info in this area woud have been appreciated......
1
Oct 4, 2015 8:26PM
hunzikerheidi
Wow, exactly, that's super human!!! How long did he live after that I wonder? We are all super humans actually in the face of real emergencies as can be witnessed by life threatening events but somehow we return to "normal" as to self- and /or other evaluations. Interesting thought?
0
Oct 4, 2015 8:40PM
Peter M. Olsen
Peter M. Olsen
I have a trivia question for you! Which country has the largest flock of sheep? Go to my blog, ANobodyIsSomebody. com
0
Oct 4, 2015 8:45PM
John Henry
John Henry
WoW! A very brave decision, and a very brave man! I am very impressed!
0
Oct 4, 2015 8:49PM
Bob Rosser
Wow! Dont know if I could do that
0
Oct 4, 2015 9:21PM
Kathy Campbell
Kathy Campbell
You have to do, what you have to do. I don't know if I could have been as strong.
0
Oct 4, 2015 9:27PM
Eric Brown
Eric Brown
Wow! !!!! Thats extreme survival
0
Oct 4, 2015 10:06PM
Shawn P Flynn
Shawn P Flynn
Nothing but amazing was this feat. I have done my own stitches many times but that doesnt come close to comparisin to actually removing an organ.
3
Oct 4, 2015 10:14PM
Kc Furr
Kc Furr
That should meet his deductable for the year.
3
Oct 4, 2015 10:22PM
Dianna Allard
Dianna Allard
WOW!!
0
Oct 4, 2015 10:34PM
Janis Walzem
Janis Walzem
There was a woman, under a similar situation, who performed her own masectomy. It is a very brave thing to do.
0
Oct 4, 2015 11:25PM
Vasily Tchaikovsky
Vasily Tchaikovsky
I remember this story,but in Sov.U. nobody payed much attention,-human life was cost nothing at tnat time,by the way I was graduated from the same medical institute in Leningrag but much later ,very good school.
0
Oct 4, 2015 11:31PM

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