For twenty-four years, the narrator lived in a very large city. Forty-eight days ago he graduated with honors from the medical faculty of the university and was appointed head of the Nikolsky medical hospital, although he wanted to work in a county town forty miles from Nikolsky, where there was electricity and four doctors with whom one could consult.
But there was no way to escape, and from time to time I myself realized that this was cowardice. After all, for this I studied at the Medical Faculty…
The young doctor is not sure of himself, he is afraid: what if he “brings a woman and her birth is wrong? Or, suppose, a patient, and he has a strangulated hernia?” The narrator saw the operation of the strangulated hernia only once, while studying at the university.
Late in the evening at the end of November a girl, a three-year-old blue-eyed beauty Lidka, was brought to the Nikolskaya hospital. She suffocates, and the doctor immediately establishes the diagnosis: “Diphtheria croup, the throat is already stuffed with films and will soon close tightly.” According to Lidkin’s mother and grandmother, the girl is ill the fifth day.
I have never seen diphtheria until light and quickly forgotten cases. There was something bubbling in his throat, white, ragged.
The doctor understands that the girl is dying, and, in spite of fear, decides to have a tracheotomy operation. Mother and grandmother did not give consent to the operation for a long time and bitterly. Finally, with great difficulty, agreement was obtained, and the operating room was prepared. Operate the girl to the narrator is assisted by a young capable paramedic and two midwifery assistants. The operation is very difficult, the doctor can not find the respiratory throat, and the paramedic faints at the most crucial moment.
Finally, the doctor makes a hole in his throat and puts a silver tube in it. The air whistles into the throat, and the girl begins to breathe.
Through the sleep
The narrator reassures the frightened mother: the girl is alive, but while we do not take out the tube, she will not speak.
After this operation, the doctor spends many others, even worse than Lidkin’s throat. Reception of patients increases. Midwife-medical assistant believes that the doctor became famous for the operation of a tracheotomy. In the district they say that he replaced the sick Lidka with her steel throat, and they go to look at the girl as a miracle.