The picture of a Chinese surgeon sleeping in the operation room while re-attaching a patient’s arm went viral on the country’s social media, recently.
In the photo, orthopedic surgeon Luo Shanpeng, who works at No. 6 People’s Hospital of Guiyang in south-eastern China’s Guizhou Province, was seen squatting down by the surgery table, holding up the right arm of a migrant worker with his left hand. His eyes were closed and he appeared to be sleeping.
A nurse who was working with Luo in the surgery was the one who took the picture.
“Seeing this makes my heart ache,” said the nurse. After the photo was uploaded on WeChat, a Chinese messaging platform, it went viral.
Luo was hailed as a hero by people who saw the photo because it showed his dedication to prioritize his patient’s lives over his need to rest. Luo had performed five back-to-back operations on Jan. 3 – the day before the picture was taken – and was ready work when a critical patient was rushed into the hospital and he was requested to attend him.
Devoted surgeon falls asleep after performing six operations without a break… still holding the arm he just re-attached https://t.co/Mzd7lCQHHg
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) January 10, 2019
The patient was a migrant worker, whose right arm was badly mangled after getting caught in a blender. The arm was almost severed from his body. Even though he was severely overworked, having received no breaks for a stretch of 20 hours, the surgeon decided to conduct the surgery because he felt confident enough to concentrate.
“The situation was very critical and surgery was necessary immediately,” Lou said, local outlet Guiyang Evening News reported. “In the operation, we performed residual muscle tendon and blood vessel repair on the patient. At the time of operation, the patient’s wound was full of dirt and sand.”
In the middle of the surgery, Lou said he squatted against the table and briefly closed his eyes after the patient was administered general anesthesia and needed to keep his arm from touching any surface till the cast on it had dried up. Also, the arm needed to be kept in an uplifted state to keep blood circulating in that arm. Hence, the surgeon essentially had nothing more to do at that point in the surgery but to wait it out.
“I wanted to shut my eyes and have a rest. I didn’t expect to fall asleep,” he said. “I originally wanted to close my eyes and rest. Who knows that I fell asleep.”
His sixth surgery lasted for nearly eight hours. The picture was taken at 4 a.m. local time (3 p.m. EST, Jan. 3) on Jan. 4.
Luo added that he felt the happiest in his profession as a surgeon when he saw his patients recovering and getting better. He also stressed the fact that as a surgeon, he also believed that he needed to keep both his mind and body in the stop shape at all times.