Surgical News Of The Week (2)

When I feel a bit down, I find a story about a medical disaster peps me up no end.

At the recent Cheltenham Literary Festival, Samer Nashef, a cardiac surgeon at Cambridge’s Papworth Hospital was regaling his audience with details of what should have been a perfectly straightforward coronary bypass. Unfortunately, the aorta ruptured.

Needing access to another artery, he settled on the patient’s groin and with an assistant pushing on the damaged aorta to stem the blood loss, cut the skin. There was some blood loss from that area and so to patch things up down there, Nashef decided to cauterise the spot.

To his dismay, the solution used to prepare the area hadn’t dried and the application of a flame meant that the patient’s private area went up in flames. They were able to extinguish the fire using drapes.

Mercifully, the patient, an 80-year-old man, was none the worse for his ordeal but he did wonder why, as well as a repaired heart, he had come out of the theatre with a full Brazilian.       

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