Surgeon Walked 6 Miles in Snowstorm to OR

Dr. Zenko Hrynkiw helped out a few stranded strangers along the way

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 31, 2014 7:04 AM CST

(Newser) – You think you're dedicated to your job? Probably not compared to this guy: Dr. Zenko Hrynkiw was needed for an emergency brain surgery at Birmingham, Alabama's Trinity Medical Center on Tuesday morning, but he was six miles away at another hospital. With a snowstorm raging and traffic at a standstill, getting there seemed unfeasible. "When I got out of the doctors' parking lot up the hill, unfortunately there were accidents to the right and accidents to the left," he tells WBRC. But Hrynkiw is Trinity's only neurosurgeon, and the patient "had a 90% chance of death. If he didn't have surgery, he'd be dead. It's not going to happen on my shift," he said, per NBC News. So, at 10:45am, in 20-degree weather, he decided to walk.

Hrynkiw checked the patient's CT scan (which he received via text) as he walked—still wearing "my slip-ons from the operating groom and my scrubs. So I was not really geared up for my adventure." Along the way he helped strangers push their cars away from a ditch and eventually got help from a passerby, who gave him a lift part of the way. He was operating on the patient within two hours of starting his trek. "This just speaks volumes to the dedication of the man. When I saw him, all I could say is 'you are a good man,'" a nurse tells the AP, adding the patient is now "doing well." Hrynkiw, on the other hand, says, "It really wasn't that big of a deal. I walk a lot." (It wasn't the only medical story with a positive ending to come out of Tuesday's storm.)

Abandoned cars and trucks litter the road after a winter snow storm on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, near Birmingham, Ala.
Abandoned cars and trucks litter the road after a winter snow storm on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, near Birmingham, Ala.   (AP Photo/David Tulis)
Vehicles travel on US highway 280 as snow begins to make driving conditions difficult Tuesday January 28,  2014 in Chelsea,  Ala.
Vehicles travel on US highway 280 as snow begins to make driving conditions difficult Tuesday January 28, 2014 in Chelsea, Ala.   (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)
A shot of the snow in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (this story happened in Birmingham).
A shot of the snow in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (this story happened in Birmingham).   (AP Photo/AL.com, Vasha Hunt)
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