The man who cut out his own appendix

Rogozov worked out a detailed plan for how the operation would unfold and assigned his colleagues specific roles and tasks.

He nominated two main assistants to hand him instruments, position the lamp, and hold a mirror – he planned to use the reflection to see what he was doing. The station director was also in the room, in case one of the others became faint.

“He was so systematic he even instructed them what to do if he was losing consciousness – how to inject him with adrenalin and perform artificial ventilation,” says Vladislav. “I don’t think his preparation could have been better.”

A general anaesthetic was out of the question. He was able to administer a local anaesthetic to his abdominal wall but once he had cut through, removing the appendix would have to be done without further pain relief, in order to keep his head as clear as possible.