By:
06-10-2015

Iconic Photograph Of Amazing Surgery That Shocked The World (Photo On Page 2!!!)

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They say a picture is worth a thousands words and this image certainly is. In 1987 photographer James Stanfield captured this amazing shot for National Geographic, which amazed and shocked the world.

In this extraordinary medical moment, we see Polish cardiac surgeon Dr. Zbigniew Religa after a 23-hour surgery watching the vital signs of a heart transplant patient hooked up to outdated equipment.

The doctor’s dark-rimmed eyes are anxious as he checks the monitor tracking the condition of patient Tadeusz Zitkevits. The transplant was one of two carried out and in the right hand corner of the outmoded operating room, we can see an exhausted colleague slumped asleep on the floor.

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Mr. Zitkevits was 61 at the time and because of his advanced age, no doctor would agree to carry out the surgery. Renowned cardiologist Dr. Religa was a pioneer of heart transplantation in Poland after performing the country’s first heart transplant two years earlier. He stepped in despite the chances of success looking slim, if not impossible.

Although the odds were stacked against him, the surgery was a complete success.

The patient went on to outlive the dedicated doctor who was a heavy smoker and died on lung cancer in 2009. Both the patient and photographer were reunited when they attended the amazing doctor’s funeral.

In 1987, Poland’s free healthcare system had helped many people, but it was now seriously under funded and in a critical state. The photographer was looking for the perfect shot to illustrate the failing medical conditions in post-Soviet Poland and that’s exactly what he got.

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