SYDNEY: A team of surgeons at Port Moresby General Hospital in Papua New Guinea has become an online sensation on Thursday, after images were posted to social media platforms showing the medical staff performing an operation in a dark theatre using only torches and mobile phones for light.
For 19 minutes of the three-hour cleft lip operation on Monday, the team were forced to improvise when a power outage cast their section of the hospital into darkness.
Although the hospital has several backup generators for such an event, on this occasion the theatre’s generator had overheated and malfunctioned.
“I can speak on this as a surgeon and having had to operate during many such situations in India,” Port Moresby General Hospital chief executive officer Dr Umesh Gupta told the Post Courier Newspaper.
“In such or any other instance when there is shortage of something, surgeons improvise and try to the best that they can.”
“All developing countries have issues of power blackouts and I can tell you that in all public hospitals in these countries, such instances are known to occur.”
Despite challenging circumstances that faced the operating team, Gupta was adamant that there was no danger to the patient.
“The operation was conducted successfully because a cleft lip surgery is a superficial operation that does not endanger life,” he said.
“So there was no threat to life during the 19 minutes.”
While the photos posted to social media have helped illustrate the professionalism and diligence of staff at the hospital, Gupta explained that from March next year, the issue of power supply is likely to be solved with the construction of an electrical backup and medical gas system for the entire hospital.
It will be safe to say that such instances will be a rarity from March 2019 onwards,” Gupta said.