novolazarevskaya

When we say “Do it Yourself” appendectomy, we mean it – the patient and the surgeon were the same guy.

Surgeon Leonid Rogozov was a decorated Soviet hero, awarded with the Order of the Red Banner of Labour and all the toppings. But the reason for his status was peculiar: an inflamed peritoneum. Or rather, how he decided to deal with one in 1961.

At the time, he was stationed at the asshole of the world that is Novolazarevskaya Station, in the Antarctic. Dr. Rogozov (who also served as the station’s driver and meteorologist) developed a nasty peritonitis – which in layman’s terms meant he got a high fever; a crippling, nauseating stomach ache and an acute case of “gonna die real soon if someone doesn’t do something pretty freakin’ chop chop.”

Now, while the most common answer to the age old question “What happens if the team medic goes down?” is “Everyone’s screwed, that’s what,” Rogozov was determined to find a better solution. Namely, one that would let him live. Rogozov knew evacuation was not an option because of the constant snowstorms. He also knew no other member on his team could doctor worth damn. So, as a desperation move, he decided to cut himself open.

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