Heart Surgery Goes On as Hospital Burns

Russian doctors, nurses finish bypass before evacuating
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2021 5:05 PM CDT
Heart Surgery Goes On as Hospital Burns
Emergency Ministry employees and medics carry a patient out of the burning hospital in Blagoveshchensk, Russia, on Friday.   (Russian Emergency Ministry Press Service via AP)

When a blaze broke out Friday on the wooden roof of an ancient hospital in a remote Russian city, firefighters went to work on it. Officials said 128 people were evacuated, including 60 patients. But on the ground floor, a team of eight doctors and nurses carried on with heart bypass surgery. "There's nothing else we could do," a surgeon said later. "We had to save the person." Firefighters ran a cable to the operating room to ensure it didn't lose power, Reuters reports. The Blagoveshchensk hospital, in eastern Russia, filled with smoke, but firefighters used fans to keep it out of the ER.

No one was injured in the fire, per Barron's. "There was no panic," a medic said. The hospital was built in 1907, officials said, and the fire "spread like lightning through the wooden ceilings of the roof." The fire was thought to be electrical, and it took crews more than two hours to put out. The heart patient, whose operation was a success, was moved to another hospital. Local officials said the surgical team and firefighters would be honored. (More uplifting news stories.)

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