A team of Russian surgeons successfully removed a live grenade stuck in a soldier’s body.
The soldier, Nikolay Pasenko, had been turned into a ‘human bomb’ after been hit by a grenade which smashed through his rib cage, stayed trapped inside him but failed to detonate while fighting in Ukraine.
According to Daily Mail UK, the medical team wore body armour, because they knew the grenade could detonate during the surgery with devastating effects at such close quarters.
Pasenko initially resisted surgery saying: “He did not want the doctors to suffer as the munitions could have exploded.”
“I was against it. I did not want the doctors to suffer as the munitions could have exploded,” said Pasenko.
“The ammunition was located between the aorta and the inferior vena cava, It’s not every day that you take an [explosive] out of a person, and in a place where moving to the right or left can lead to the death of the patient. When the ammunition ended up in a bucket of sand, everyone exhaled, smiled and laughed,” one of the surgeons was reported to have said.
Speaking after the surgery, Pasenko said: “I did not understand what happened. There was a blow to the edge of the armour and that was it. I did not lose consciousness – I just continued to move.”
Pasenko, who is a junior sergeant, was hit by a Ukranian projectile fired from an automatic grenade launcher.
Russia’s Defence Ministry confirmed the incident on Thursday.
Medical experts said the chances of an explosion were “extremely high” but failure to operate would have left Russian trooper at risk of fatal bleeding.
“Despite this, the military doctors together with their civilian counterparts donned body armour under their medical gowns and proceeded with this utmost intricate surgery,” said a statement from the Russian defence ministry.
The operation was hailed a success and the soldier later woke up to thank the “hero” surgeons.
“We were warned there was a risk of ammunition detonation, but no one refused,” said Lt-Col Kim, whose team moved closer to the Russian-Ukrainian border from Moscow to tend to wounded soldiers.
“The ammunition was located between the aorta and the inferior vena cava.
“It’s not every day that you take an [explosive] out of a person, and in a place where moving to the right or left can lead to the death of the patient.
“When the ammunition ended up in a bucket of sand, everyone exhaled, smiled and laughed.”
A second operating theatre and a full team of surgeons was on standby in case the ordnance had detonated during the “unique operation”.
Lt-Col Kim said that as they operated they “didn’t know if the ammunition had detonated or not” and opened up the soldier to find it hadn’t – increasing the risk of an explosion.