Sent to cover the earthquake which has devastated Nepal, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta ended up scrubbing up and performing a brain surgery on a girl in an overwhelmed hospital.
Dr. Gupta, a neurosurgeon, was in Kathmandu to cover the aftermath of Saturday’s violent earthquake, but abandoned his journalistic duties to perform a craniotomy on a 15-year-old girl, Sandhya Chalise, after a wall of her family’s home fell on her head as she collected water outside.
The teen, who lives in a remote area of the country, reached Kathmandu’s Bir Hospital two days after the 7.8-magnitude quake hit her village, by which point blood had collected in the top of her brain, according to
During a telephone interview with CNN, Dr. Gupta explained:
I was asked to do this by the doctors there at the hospital. I think they literally need another set of hands because the demand is so high.
Dr. Gupta was forced to use basic equipment during the procedure, including a saw instead of an electric drill, as well as a sterile water and iodine from a bottle, rather than a scrub sink, the surgeon explained.
Dr. Gupta said that the girl was “doing well” after the operation, “but her story is unfortunately very typical”.
2. Dr. Gupta (center) at the hospital, said the girl was just one of many people walking through the doors with head injuries at the overstretched hospital. More than 6,000 people were injured.
3. Another child with a similar head injury, pictured, came to the hospital shortly after the operation.
Following the operation, an eight-year-old girl arrived at the same hospital, in need of a similar surgery.
More than 5,000 people are believed to have been killed in the powerful quake, however the Nepalese authorities have speculated that as many as 10,000 could have died.
About 6,000 are known to have have injured so far and are flooding the hospitals, which are struggling to accommodate them. Dr. Gupta said:
I’ve seen a lot of situations around the world, and this is as bad as I’ve ever seen it.
They need more resources, they need more personnel here right now, and they’re expecting many more patients as these rescue operations go on. They’re barely able to keep up right now.
4. As well as working for CNN, Gupta is a neurosurgeon at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta.
In addition to being CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Gupta, 45, is a neurosurgeon at Atlanta’s Emory Healthcare.
This is not the first time the father-of-three has performed surgery while on a reporting assignment.
In 2003, while covering the medical demands of the Iraqi invasion, Dr. Gupta performed emergency operations on U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians.
While reporting in Haiti following that country’s devastating 2010 earthquake, the surgeon, helped by other doctors, removed a piece of concrete from a 12-year-old girl’s skull aboard aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
5. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta performs brain surgery in Nepal.