Not feeling the heat: Russian surgeons carry on with life-saving open-heart operation despite FIRE forcing evacuation of building

A surgical team in Russia’s remote Far East has won plaudits online after bravely staying behind in a burning building to finish up an open-heart procedure, while around them patients and employees were being evacuated to safety.

The fire broke out at a surgical department building in Blagoveshchensk, close to the Chinese border, on Friday. Plumes of acrid black smoke could be seen billowing from the facility, as fire crews rushed to tackle the blaze.

However, in a statement, the regional Ministry of Emergency Situations confirmed that “one patient and eight members of the medical team are still in the building, performing an operation.”

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A source at the clinic told Interfax that “the procedure was being performed on an open heart, so it was impossible to stop it.”

Despite the apparent danger, it appears that the risk paid off, and the operation was reportedly a success. The patient and the medical team were evacuated as soon as the operation was complete.

“[The patient’s] condition is assessed as stable,” the source added. “There is no threat to his life and he is recovering in the postoperative intensive care unit of the regional hospital.”

Around 120 people were evacuated from the building, which was built more than 100 years ago and houses a suite of operating theaters. After apparently being sparked by faulty electrical wiring, the fire spread out over 1,600 square meters of the building.

In May last year, a fire that broke out at a hospital in St. Petersburg killed several patients who were being treated for coronavirus. Days prior, a blaze in an intensive care unit in Moscow had also killed a Covid-19 patient. The incidents were reportedly linked to a malfunctioning ventilator, and authorities subsequently launched a probe into the safety of medical equipment in the country’s clinics.

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