Dr. Scott Nelson's spine surgery in Nepal interrupted by aftershock — 5 things to know

Written by Laura Dyrda | May 20, 2015 | Print  |

Scott Nelson, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon at Loma Linda University Medical Center, was recently providing medical care to the earthquake victims in Nepal when aftershocks rocked his operating room, according to a report from The Sun.

Dr. Nelson was with a six-person team, including another orthopedic surgeon and orthopedic resident providing care at Scheer Memorial Hospital in Nepal, which is part of the Adventist Health International network. Here are five quick facts about the earthquake:


1. The original earthquake was 7.8 and more than 8,400 people died.


2. The earthquake injured more than 19,000 and many of those injuries were orthopedic injuries.


3. The after shock was a 7.3, hitting 17 days after the initial earthquake. Dr. Nelson was in the middle of performing spine surgery when the aftershock hit.


4. The aftershock was responsible for a reported 65 deaths and 1,988 injuries, according to Nepal's National Emergency Operation Center and reported in the New York Times.


5. While the aftershock began as a tremor, it grew bigger and bigger. Dr. Nelson paused, hoping it would end, but it kept getting stronger. He considered ending the surgery without completing it, but decided that would take as long as finishing the surgery, so he braced himself and "finished the surgery in record time."


Dr. Nelson finished the surgery even as operating room items were falling to the floor from the quake. He was operating on a 30-year-old woman's spine.


More articles on spine surgery:
5 key notes on non-medical patient transfers for spinal trauma
8 trends in the BMP market—Spinal fusion has the largest share
Minimally invasive spine surgery—Current trends & topics

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