Surgeon hospitalized after overworking to help dying patients

Doctors often go the extra mile for their patients.

One doctor in China, however, took it a little too far when he ended up on the operating table after ignoring his own symptoms.

Liu Lei, a hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeon at Huai’an First People’s Hospital, had to undergo emergency surgery himself on Dec 28 after he endured severe pain from urinary tract stones in order to tend to a patient, local media reported.

Liu had been preparing to perform surgery on the patient that evening when he felt a sudden, throbbing pain in his abdomen.

As the patient needed the surgery urgently, Liu decided to endure the discomfort and perform the procedure after receiving an injection to relieve the pain. But by the time Liu had successfully completed the surgery — which took over an hour — the pain had gotten so extreme that he could not stand up straight.

Realising that something was wrong, his colleagues sent him for a scan, which revealed stones in his urinary tract that were about 1 cm in diameter.

If Liu had left the stones untreated, he could have contracted urosepsis, a potentially life-threatening infection, said Gu Shuo, a doctor at the hospital’s urology department.

Liu was immediately rushed into surgery to remove the stones, still dressed in his scrubs.

While many praised Liu’s professionalism, some also felt that he should not have taken the risk to perform a surgery while he was ill.

Liu, who is still recovering from the surgery, downplayed his actions, telling reporters: “What I did was just what doctors have to do as part of the job. I think it’s not a big deal and not exceptionally worthy of praise.”