Feature story |

Chronicles of a Surgery, Armenia

Photograph by MSF
The emergence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extensive drug-resistant (XDR) TB in recent years has seen some patients end up with minimal chances of recovery through medication alone. The relevance of TB surgery has therefore risen again but presents new challenges in high-burden TB countries.

MSF, together with the Ministry of Health of Armenia, has organised a mission to perform thoracic surgery on patients with tuberculosis. The surgery is intended to improve the chances of long-term cure for patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis.

In Episode 1, 25 year-old, Aram, recounts the first signs of illness, his disbelief when diagnosed with drug-resistant TB and his doubts as to whether to have surgery or not.

In Episode 2, Aram meets the suregon, Dr Sauer, who has just arrived from France. He also tells us that he's recently met a girl but, frightened of her reaction, didn't want to tell her he was having TB-related surgery.

In Episode 3, Aram's family have come to the hospital to spend the last hours with him before surgery.

In Episode 4, Dr Sauer explains the operation he's about to undertake, as well as the benefits and risks of this particularly difficult operation and Aram's mother shares her hope and fears.

The outcome of the surgery is revealed in the 5th and final episode.