Sunday, January 24, 2010

Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic: case report

Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic: case report is an article on The BMJ (British Medical Journal) by Drs. Vladislav Rogozov and Neil Bermel. It describes the saga of Leonid Ivanovich Rogozov, who in 1961 while on expedition in Antarctica, performed a self-appendectomy. Exerpt:
"One of the expedition’s members was the 27 year old Leningrad surgeon Leonid Ivanovich Rogozov. He had interrupted a promising scholarly career and left on the expedition shortly before he was due to defend his dissertation on new methods of operating on cancer of the oesophagus. In the Antarctic he was first and foremost the team’s doctor, although he also served as the meteorologist and the driver of their terrain vehicle.

After several weeks Rogozov fell ill. He noticed symptoms of weakness, malaise, nausea, and, later, pain in the upper part of his abdomen, which shifted to the right lower quadrant. His body temperature rose to 37.5°C.1 2 Rogozov wrote in his diary:

'It seems that I have appendicitis. I am keeping quiet about it, even smiling. Why frighten my friends? Who could be of help?'

He chose a semi-reclining position, with his right hip slightly elevated and the lower half of the body elevated at an angle of 30°. Then he disinfected and dressed the operating area. He anticipated needing to use his sense of touch to guide him and thus decided to work without gloves.
This article begs the question, is the writer Rogozov related to the story's surgeon Rogozov? I could google it, but I'm kind of feeling lazy.

(From Kottke )


Eternal Lizdom said...




That totally gives me the spine shivers from eekiness!! WOW! Went and read the article- his companions speak of him messing with his innards and his intestine gurgling and wanting to turn their heads but holding steadfast for his sake... Not sure I could have made it past the self-incision!

W. E. B. Du Blag said...

He's my new hero.

Got to say that I've never been tested, I'd like to think that if I was I'd pass... :)