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This is how doctors in Kyrgyzstan handled a power outage during heart surgery

Make do and mend?


Rob Price

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 14, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 10:11 am CDT

When you go through the requirements for major surgery, electricity is normally pretty high on the list of priorities. For this reason, a power outage is normally considered a pretty serious obstacle to open-heart surgery—but not for one group of doctors in Kyrgyzstan.

Dr. Kaldarbek Abdramonov is the head of a government heart clinic in Kyrgyzstan, and as the BBC reports, he recently uploaded a video to Facebook of his staff doing delicate work in unenviable conditions. A power outage in the middle of open-heart surgery forced Abdramonov’s team to improvise, using cellphone flashes for lighting and appearing to pump the patient’s blood manually.

“These are the kind of extreme circumstances under which we perform operations on hearts that have stopped beating,” Dr Abdramonov wrote, according to a BBC translation. Kyrgyzstan is a desperately poor Central Asian nation; these power outages are reportedly frequent. Every time they happen, doctors are faced with the dilemma: “How long do we have to wait before proper conditions are created for our work?”

In some instances, things can be delayed for a little while. But in other situations—like when a patient’s heart is beating in front of you—more drastic measures are required. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

H/T BBC | Screengrab via Калдарбек Абдраманов/Facebook | Remix by Rob Price

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*First Published: Oct 14, 2014, 12:00 pm CDT