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7 Crazy Things That Happened During Surgery

There are some pretty crazy things that happened during surgery that you most likely don’t know about. Usually, you’d think that the surgical room is a sterilized place where surgeons and nurses do nothing else but strictly concentrate on saving lives.

You may want to think again, because after you read this article, you’ll know that there are many things that can happen during a surgery.

While saving lives and  sterilization are almost always a given, the truth is that there are times when surgeons tell jokes and laugh to ease the stress and tension. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with that.

However, there were some weird and completely crazy things that happened during surgery, including violin playing, live tweets, and pranks. You’d ask, “What are the most bizarre things that have happened during a surgical procedure?” Well, let’s see!

crazy things that happened during surgery
Photo by alessandro guerriero from Shutterstock

1. The patient who caught fire during the surgical procedure

No. 1 on our list of crazy things that happened during surgery is something that can easily horrify anyone.

In 2005, Rita Tablert was supposed to undergo a simple procedure to remove a thyroid nodule. However, when she woke up in intensive care, she was in great pain and shocked at the face she saw in the mirror.

Her mouth had virtually melted away. Her nose was deformed. Her chin was gone. He had her face damaged for a long time, even after a dozen reconstructive operations, which affected how she would breathe, eat, and drink.

The doctors explained to her there had been an accident—an electrosurgical tool ignited oxygen inside a mask during the surgery and sparkled flames that left Rita with second- and third-degree burns from the top of her head to her chest.

Unfortunately, it seems that her case isn’t so rare. It turns out that surgical fires are five times as common as once thought, affecting up to 650 patients a year. Of those, between 20 and 30 suffer disfiguring burns, and every year, one or two patients actually die this way.

2. The violonist who played Mozart during her own brain surgery

This is one of the most impressive and crazy things that happened during surgery. Violonist Naomi Elishuv gave her surgeon team a private concert as they operated on her brain.

Two decades ago, Elishuv was diagnosed with essential tremor and forced to stop playing. She was at the time a violist in the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra.

In 2014, she was operated on at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center to treat her condition. Surgeons inserted a pacemaker in Elishuv’s brain so they could regulate her tremors through electric impulses. According to one of the surgeons, she was asked to play at some point during the procedure because they needed Elishuv’s active participation in real-time to insert the pacemaker.

When they activated the stimulation in the affected area, they found that the tremor had gone away, and Elishuv kept playing Mozart without the tremor or side effects. Now that definitely makes the list of crazy things that happened during surgery!

Photo by Photoroyalty from Shutterstock

3. The patient who was pranked with stickers during surgery

Not all the crazy things that happened during surgery are good or worthy of praise. Let’s take a look at this example.

In 2013, ABC reported the case of an unidentified woman from Los Angeles who sued her anesthesiologist, along with the local hospital where she was operated, for allegedly putting stickers and a moustache on her face during surgery. According to her, this was all part of a prank that endangered her health and violated her dignity.

It seems that the woman worked at the hospital as a surgical supply purchaser. While she was under sedation, her coworkers found themselves in a funny mood and decided to affix yellow tear drops below her left eye and a fake mustache above her lip before a nurse took a photo.

The woman learned of the prank when she came back to work after the surgical operation.

This definitely falls into the category of crazy things that happened during surgery!

4. The hospital that live-tweeted a brain operation

Next on our list of crazy things that happened during surgery is an event that amazed many people at the time. For the first time ever—on May 9, 2012—Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital was the first to live-tweet a brain surgery that was performed by the leading surgeon, Dr. Dong Kim.

The patient, who wasn’t identified, learned they had a tumor in their brain after suffering a seizure. Dr. Kim and his surgical team used a bunch of computer-assisted technologies to identify the precise location and entry point of the tumor in the patient’s brain. Once they did that, they replaced the skull bone and finished the surgical operation.

Simultaneously, a social media team, along with a neurosurgeon, were sitting in the next room, posting videos and photos and answering questions on Twitter throughout the procedure.

Keep reading to discover other crazy things that happened during surgery!

5. A doctor carved his initials on a patient’s stomach

As already stated, not all the crazy things that happened during surgery are worthy of praise. In some cases, surgeons do some pretty stupid things, leaving people wondering, “What was on their mind?”

Dr. Alan Zarkin was so pleased with the caesarian section he performed on his patient that he decided to finish the job by carving his initials on her stomach. It’s fair to say it’s beyond shocking what can sometimes happen during surgery.

“I feel like a branded animal,” said the patient after she saw it. Moreover, the carving left a nasty scar. She sued the hospital and the doctor for $55 million in damages. Indeed, some of the crazy things that happened during surgery are pretty awful.

Photo by Ground Picture from Shutterstock

6. The anesthetist who went to lunch during kidney surgery

Next on our list of crazy things that happened during surgery is another example of how reckless medical stuff can be. In January 2011, in a Swedish hospital, a 71-year-old patient went under anesthesia at 10:45 a.m. on the day of this surgery.

At 12:00 PM, the head anesthetist decided his lunch couldn’t wait, so he left the operating room to eat. About fifteen minutes later, the head nurse anesthetist did the same thing, leaving the patient and going to lunch. No other anesthetist was called in to replace the two who had left.

The patient soon started hemorrhaging, and eventually his blood pressure started to drop. When those two anesthetists came back to the surgery room, they discovered that the patient’s ventilator had been turned off, leaving him without oxygen for about 7 minutes.

Despite resuscitation efforts, the medical team was unable to revive the man, who suffered irreversible brain damage and passed away several weeks later.

7. The singer who sang through a throat surgery

Last on our list of crazy things that happened during surgery is an event similar to the violinist’s surgical operation. In this case, singer Alama Kante learned she had a throat tumor, so she underwent a surgical operation to have it removed.

To ensure the doctors did no harm to her vocal cords, she sang through her surgery in France. Recognizing that any damage to important nerves and vocal cords during the tumor extraction could reduce Kante’s singing rage, her surgeon chose to go for medical hypnosis instead of an anesthetic to allow the patient to stay awake during the operation.

In April 2014, Alama revealed the procedure to the public two months after it happened and said she was fully healed with no vocal cord damage.

Did you recently go through surgery? Silicone scar strips are the best way to speed up the healing process!

If you liked our list of crazy things that happened during surgery, you may also want to read 11 Rarest Types of Cancer That Shocked Scientists.


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