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7/11/03

Peru Doctor Performs Brain Surgery with Store Drill

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - Lacking the proper instruments, a Peruvian doctor at a state hospital in the Andean highlands used a drill and pliers to perform brain surgery on a man who had been injured in a fight, the doctor said on Thursday.

"We have no (neurosurgical) instruments at the hospital. ... He was dying, so I had no choice but to run to a hardware store to buy a drill and use the pliers that I fix my car with, of course after sterilizing them," Cesar Venero told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The patient, Centeno Quispe, 47, had arrived at the hospital in Andahuaylas, 240 miles southeast of Lima, after being hit in the head with a metal object in a street fight, Venero said.

"I drilled holes in his skull in a circle, leaving spaces of 5 millimeters, took out the bone with the pliers and removed the clots that were putting pressure on his brain," he said.

Andahuaylas is one of the poorest regions of Peru, a country in which more than half its 27 million people live below the poverty line. Venero, who earns $430 a month, said he had used tools from a hardware store on five previous occasions but for less serious operations. Quispe was making a good recovery in a hospital in Peru's capital, Lima.

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