Surgeon keeps working through heart attack

NAPLES, Italy, March 20 (UPI) — A neurosurgeon in Italy said he continued performing a brain cancer operation despite suffering a heart attack during the procedure.

Dr. Claudio Vitale, 59, of Naples, said he suffered an angina spasm about halfway through the procedure but he insisted on continuing to remove the brain tumor of his patient, ANSA reported Friday. Vitale’s heart episode was confirmed by a blood test.

“I couldn’t leave him at such a delicate moment,” said Vitale, who underwent his own operation to clear an artery after he was finished with the surgery. “I’m not a hero, I only did my duty.”

Vitale was scheduled to be discharged from the hospital Friday and said he hoped to resume work at Cardarelli Hospital as soon as possible.

“I’ll have a week off and then I hope they’ll let me get back to work,” he said.

The surgeon said he was told the cancer patient was recovering.

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