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Doctors Forced To Use Phone Lights During Surgery Following Power Cut

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Doctors Forced To Use Phone Lights During Surgery Following Power Cut

Going under the knife is a terrifying experience at the best of times, but spare a thought for the patients (and indeed doctors) at a hospital in Brazil which was plunged into darkness following a power cut.

The power outage at the Maternidade Dona Evangelina Rosa hospital in Teresina, in the northeastern state of Piaui, forced doctors to perform surgery under the relatively dim glow of a phone light.

The hospital was without power for more than four hours. Credit: CEN
The hospital was without power for more than four hours. Credit: CEN

The hospital was without electricity from 1.30pm until 6pm on Friday, with heavy storms causing power cuts across the region. The institution said it has a 'three phase energy supply', but back up generators failed to recognise the power cut and as such did not supply power.

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Hospital management told local reporters: "Immediately after becoming aware of the instability of the energy supply in the Surgery Centre, the maintenance team switched off the main switch and the generator was turned on and worked normally."

The electricity supply in the region is reportedly still affected by the storms, but the hospital is now working with electricity from its generators.

It is unclear how many surgeries and what kind of surgeries were performed during the power outage using the lights of mobile phones. However, the president of the Syndicate of Doctors of Piaui (SIMEPI), Samuel Moreira Rego, confirmed on social media that the hospital had been 'working with the light from mobile phone torches'.

This is far from ideal. Credit: CEN
This is far from ideal. Credit: CEN
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He added: "Until when are the managers going to disregard the public health system of our people? Overloaded doctors are working at the limits of stress to fulfil their mission of saving lives."

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, a hospital in Australia probably wishes it had a power cut it could blame, having botched a procedure so badly that a girl had to have her thumb amputated and replaced with a toe.

Britney Thomas, from Victoria - who was 17 at the time - injured her thumb while she was playing cricket in Hong Kong. A trip to the doctor when she got home revealed that she'd fractured it, so she was sent to Latrobe Regional Hospital for an operation.

As is routine, a tourniquet (a device that restricts blood pressure) was applied to her before the operation to restrict blood flow. Britney was told it would be taken off when the op was done.

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Five days later though, she realised something wasn't right.

Britney Thomas's thumb surgery went very badly wrong. Credit: ABC
Britney Thomas's thumb surgery went very badly wrong. Credit: ABC

Speaking to news.com.au, Britney revealed that when medics took the cast off to investigate, it turned out the tourniquet hadn't been taken off after the surgery - with someone at the hospital incorrectly writing down that it had been removed.

Sadly, because the blood had been restricted for so long, her thumb was past saving. Britney then had most of her thumb amputated, with what was left being stitched to her groin for six weeks to get the nerves and arteries working again.

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Her big toe was then taken off and stitched onto her hand to make a new thumb and a replacement toe was created using her hip bone.

Featured Image Credit: CEN

Topics: World News, Surgery, Brazil, Health

Jake Massey
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