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Alla Ilyinichna Levushkina, the oldest surgeon

The oldest surgeon of Russia is Alla Ilyinichna Levushkina, 89 years old! Still holds more than a hundred operations a year, with zero fatality.

At 89 years old and standing at a petite 4ft 9ins Alla Ilyinichna Levushkina is thought to be the world's oldest working surgeon. She starts work each day at 8am holding a clinic for her patients before going to theatre to start surgery at about 11am. Before an operation starts, an assistant brings her a small platform to give her a better view of her patient on the operating table. This small woman with observant eyes is the oldest working surgeon in Russia but her hands never shake. During the 67 years of work she performed about 10 000 surgeries.

However, medicine isn't always where she saw her career going - she originally wanted to be a geologist but she was inspired to become a surgeon after reading a novel about doctors and went on to study at the Moscow Medical Institute. At the the time, there was fierce competition to get a place at the institute but that only made her more determined.

Alla chose to specialise in proctology, a field of medicine that deals with bowel and rectal problems. She said at the time you could count all the proctologists in Russia on one hand and no one wanted to handle that part of the body because it was too messy, but that was no deterrent for her. Reflecting on how tough it was to survive in medical school, she told "Once a month the medical students could depend on getting a bottle of alcohol (from a medical lab), we would run to the market and use it to barter - half a litre could get you a loaf of bread. We only survived because we split everything between us in the student halls. My parents, who barely had enough to eat themselves, sent a few potatoes from our village in Ryazan".

Weekday Alla Ilyinichna begins at 8 am with the reception of patients in the clinic. After 11 am she goes to the hospital to do surgery. Alla Ilinichna has four operating days per week.

She does not have children, and she has never been married, but she takes care of her eight cats. She took all her animals from the streets, and saved them from death. Birds are always flying to her windows because she feed them.

She lives in a studio apartment. When Alla Ilinichna not at work, she is caring for a disabled nephew.

Outside, she hangs a feeder full of sunflower seeds and millet.

And she knows a secret of life.... that is so easy for her.... Recently awarded the prize for the best doctors in Russia. It was her prize for loyalty to the profession.

And is retirement on the horizon for Alla, who will turn 90 on May 5? It doesn't appear so. She said once - "I work and everything. I have nothing to do in retirement. Doctor - it is not just a profession, a way of life. Why else would the surgeon live, if not to work?"

... And what can you say after it ...


ref.: commersant ru,

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