Ukrainian Surgeon Used Headlamp during Blackouts in Lviv

Ukrainian Surgeon Used Headlamp during Blackouts in Lviv
  • After Russian missiles struck Lviv, blackouts meant that a Ukrainian surgeon could only use his headlamp to perform surgery. 
  • He said that the time it took for the generator to turn on and off could have cost him his life. 
  • Russia continues to strike Ukraine’s power grid, leaving a quarter without power. 

Dr. Oleh Duda, who was undergoing a complex and dangerous surgery, was about to go out of the operating room when the lights went out. 

A cancer surgeon who works in a hospital in Lviv (Ukraine) told the Associated PressHe heard the explosions while he was performing on a patient. 

Moments later, the hospital was engulfed in blackouts, including the operating rooms where the patient was lying open on the table. 

According to the AP, Duda could not stop what he was doing. He had no choice but to continue the operation with only his headlamp for light. 

Fortunately, the AP reported that the generator in the hospital started working three minutes later. 

Duda said to The Associated Press that these fateful minutes could have cost the patient’s life.

The blackout that occurred during the November 15th surgery was not limited to Lviv. According to the AP report, it was caused another Russian missile strike against Ukraine’s power grid. Nearly half of Ukraine’s energy facilities were damaged in the strike. 

Duda said to the AP that the explosions were so close the hospital that the walls were shaking. Patients and doctors had to shelter in the basement of the hospital, as is the norm every time an air raid siren sounds. 

Since then, the strikes have continued, with a November 23 strike leaving even more people in Ukraine without power, water or public transportation. the AP reported

According to the World Health Organization, a quarter of the people living in Ukraine — roughly 10 million people — were without power after the November 23 strike. Since then, power has been restored and water has been restored. according to the Kyiv Independent.

Ukrainian doctor Oleh Duda, left, speaks with a patient at the hospital in western city of Lviv, Ukraine, on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022.

Oleh Duda (left), a Ukrainian doctor, speaks to a patient in the hospital in Lviv’s western city, Ukraine, Saturday, November 26, 2022.

AP Photo/Mykola Tys

According to the AP the damage has had a major impact on Ukraine’s healthcare system. Surgery are being delayed, patient records are not available due to internet outages, paramedics rely on flashlights to check patients in their powerless apartments.

The AP reported that only 10 of the 40 scheduled surgeries in the Lviv hospital were performed on November 15th. 

Last week, surgeons from Kyiv’s Heart Institute had the unfortunate experience of having to continue operating on a child’s heart because of a blackout. according to a video posted to the organization’s Facebook page

According to the AP, Dr. Boris Todurov (director of the institute) said in the video that “Rejoice Russians, a baby is on the table” and that during an operation the lights went completely out. “We will now turn on the generator — unfortunately, it will take a few minutes.”

The Associated Press (AP) reported on instances of broken medical machinery and generators at hospitals in Ukraine. There are also stories of nurses carrying patients who have been injured to operating rooms, when elevators aren’t working due to blackouts. 

The World Health Organization saidLast week, he stated that “this winter will pose a threat to the lives of millions of Ukrainians” and called the upcoming season a “fierce test for the Ukrainian health system as well as the Ukrainian people.”

The WHO stated that Ukraine’s health system was facing its darkest days since the war. It has been subject to more than 700 attacks and is now also suffering from the energy crisis. It is being squeezed by all sides, with the patient as the ultimate casualty.

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