@historic Antarctica, 1961.
Leonid Rogozov was a Soviet general practitioner who took part in the sixth Soviet Antarctic Expedition in 1960–1961. He was the only doctor stationed at the Novolazarevskaya Station and, while there, developed appendicitis, which meant he had to perform an appendectomy on himself, a famous case of self-surgery.
In 1961, Rogozov was stationed at a newly constructed Russian base in Antarctica. The 12 men inside were cut off from the outside world by the polar winter by March of that year. On the morning of 29 April 1961, Rogozov experienced general weakness, nausea, and moderate fever, and later pain in the lower right portion of the abdomen. His symptoms were classic: he had acute appendicitis. “He knew that if he was to survive he had to undergo an operation”, the British Medical Journal recounted. “But he was in the frontier conditions of a newly founded Antarctic colony on the brink of the polar night. Transportation was impossible. Flying was out of the question, because of the snowstorms. And there was one further problem: he was the only physician on the base”. Rogozov had no option but to perform the operation on himself. The operation started at 02:00 local time on the first day of May with the help of a driver and meteorologist, who were providing instruments and holding a mirror to observe areas not directly visible, while Rogozov operated. After 30-40 minutes he removed the appendix. He applied antibiotics in the peritoneal cavity and closed the wound. The operation itself lasted an hour and 45 minutes.
After the operation gradual improvement occurred in the signs of peritonitis and in the general condition of Rogozov. Body temperature returned to normal after five days, and the stitches were removed seven days after the operation. He resumed his regular duties in about two weeks.The self-surgery captured the imagination of the Soviet public at the time. In 1961 he was awarded Order of the Red Banner of Labour.
From 1986 to 2000 he served as the head of the surgery department of Saint Petersburg Research Institute for Tubercular Pulmonology. Rogozov died in 2000, aged 66, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, from lung cancer.