newsWorld News

Israeli team overcomes blackout during surgery in Ethiopia

The team from Haifa's Rambam hospital continued to operate on their 3-year-old patient by the light from cellphone flashlights.

Israeli and Ethiopian doctors operating on a three-year-old child during a power failure at the St. Peter’s Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo by Dr. Vasile Recea via TPS.
Israeli and Ethiopian doctors operating on a three-year-old child during a power failure at the St. Peter’s Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo by Dr. Vasile Recea via TPS.

Last week, a delegation of Israeli surgeons faced a daunting challenge when a general power failure interrupted a life-saving surgery they were performing in Ethiopia. But thanks to their quick thinking and resourcefulness, the team successfully completed the procedure and saved the life of their 3-year-old patient.

A humanitarian delegation from Haifa’s Rambam Healthcare Campus had traveled to Addis Ababa to perform a number of surgical procedures at St. Peter’s Specialized Hospital. As part of a medical collaboration between the two hospitals, Rambam periodically sends delegations to St. Peter’s to do procedures Ethiopian doctors cannot do themselves.

This delegation was primarily doing head and neck operations and gynecological treatments.

The blackout occurred without warning, and a backup generator failed to start, leaving the operating room without power.

Without wasting a moment, the Israeli and Ethiopian medical teams sprang into action. Led by Dr. Yotam Shkedy, director of Rambam’s Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Unit, they used the flashlights from their mobile phones to illuminate the surgical site.

And with the electric ventilator no longer functioning, the Ethiopian anesthesia team, assisted by Dr. Vasile Recea, deputy director of Rambam’s anesthesia department, manually ventilated the child through the nose.

“Power outages are a part of life in these countries,” said Shkedy. “But usually there is a backup generator that automatically turns on. That did not happen in this case. We had to adapt quickly because our young patient was lying on the operating table and we were in the middle of the procedure.”

Despite the difficult circumstances, the operation continued under the improvised lighting of Shkedy’s surgical headlight and the smartphone flashlights of the medical staff. Power came back on after 15 minutes.

“Lots of thoughts cross your mind when working in third-world countries, but working in an operating room without electricity never crossed my mind,” said Shkedy. “Happily, our patient’s life was never in danger.”

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates