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‘Every hour is getting harder’: Surgeons struggle to operate when the power goes out.

KYIV, Ukraine – Surgeons had made the long incision down the center of the child’s chest, cutting the sternum to spread the ribcage and reach the heart, when the lights went out at the Kiev Heart Institute.

Generators kicked in to keep life-saving equipment running Wednesday night, as nurses and surgical assistants held flashlights over the operating table and guided the surgeons as they sliced ​​and diced, working to save a life in the most difficult conditions.

“The electricity went completely out in the operating room,” said Borys Todurov, the institute’s director, who posted a video of the procedure online to illustrate the difficulties doctors faced.

“So far we’re managing ourselves,” he said. “But every hour is getting more difficult. There has been no water for several hours now. We continue to carry out only emergency operations.”

Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s energy grid is taking a growing toll on the nation as damage mounts. After each strike, repairs become more challenging, power outages can last longer, and the danger to the public increases.

The scene at the Kyiv hospital echoes those in medical facilities around the country, a vivid illustration of the staggering toll Russia’s attacks are having on civilians far from the front lines.

Two kidney transplants were being performed at the Cherkasy Regional Cancer Center in central Ukraine when the lights went out, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said on the Telegram messaging app. The generators were switched on and the transplants were successful, he said.

“Ukrainian doctors are invincible!” he said.

In the central city of Dnipro, an aeronautical and industrial center with a population of about one million people, the strikes caused the Mechnikov Hospital to lose power, the first since the war began, doctors said.

“We’ve been preparing for this moment for two years,” said one doctor, who requested anonymity because the doctor was not authorized to speak to the news media.

The hospital’s intensive care unit and operating rooms are running on generators, the doctor added, but the residences are without power.

Christopher Stokes, the head of Doctors Without Borders in Ukraine, said the attacks on infrastructure put “millions of civilians at risk.” They can feed a vicious loop where people living without heat and clean water are more likely to need medical care, but treatment itself is harder to provide.

“Energy cuts and water cuts will also affect people’s access to health care as hospitals and health centers struggle to function,” he said.

At the Kyiv hospital, surgeons put on headlamps and continued to work in the dark. The operation was a success, said Mr. Todur robbery.

“Thanks to all employees for their well-coordinated and selfless work,” he said. “In this unusual situation, we did not lose a single patient.”

Marc Santora reported from Kiev, and Thomas Gibbons-Neff from Dnipro, Ukraine. Natalia Yermak contributed with reporting from Dnipro.