What is a urologist supposed to do when the power goes out? Practicing any type of medicine in a blackout is nearly impossible, but Dr. Christopher Yang managed to perform a vasectomy on his patient by hooking up his equipment to the battery on his electric truck. It’s the world’s first vasectomy performed with a Rivian pick-up truck.
“I performed what is likely the world’s first @Rivian powered vasectomy today. Power in clinic went out, patient didn’t want to reschedule cause he already had time off. Electrocautery was normal, procedure went great! #rivianstories #rivian” Yang tweeted on September 1.
He brought the patient to his home in North Austin, Texas after they gave their consent.
During a vasectomy, “the surgeon will make an opening in the skin and grasp the vas deferens,” the tubes that carry a man’s sperm, according to the Cleveland Clinic. “The vas deferens is then divided and tied, clipped or cauterized. Cauterizing closes cuts with an electrical current.”
The average vasectomy takes around a half hour to perform. Not all the equipment involved requires electricity, but clinics should provide air conditioning in hot temperatures. Doctors also need adequate light to see what they’re doing.
“When talking to the patient, we mentioned that we could just reschedule the procedure itself, or, if he was up for it, we could do the vasectomy using power from the truck,” Yang said. “And he had a good laugh as well, and we agreed.”
Yang also kept a handheld cautery device on hand in case the power from the battery cut out during the procedure, but he didn’t need it.
The incident demonstrates how electric vehicles can be used as batteries on wheels, helping people access electricity when they can’t get power through traditional means.
Some people took delight in the circumstances of the procedure and the doctor’s quick thinking.
“Are you offering this service in the future? I can’t think of anything manlier or more Texan than getting my vasectomy done powered by a pickup,” wrote one person.
“How about getting it done in a lawn chair in the bed of the pickup truck?” wrote another.
Oleg Stens, MD, a rheumatologist at UCLA Harbor Medical Center, suggested Yang publish the case report in a medical journal. “I recommend NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) or Car and Driver,” he joked.
Based on the success of the procedure, the story has left some wondering whether an electric vehicle could be used in other medical emergencies. Doctors could potentially use the electricity stored in the battery when treating patients in the field.
But the Rivian R1T pickup truck carries a steep price tag. It currently lists for $73,000. It comes with four 110-volt power outlets. Yang reportedly plugged an extension cord into the outlet in the truck bed to get power in his home.
Luckily, everything turned out alright for the patient. “After we were done, I told his family. We all had a good laugh together too,” Yang said.
He says he bought the truck in May but he never thought he might use it to conduct a medical procedure.
“I’m not sure that this (vasectomy) should be the planned use of the truck,” Yang joked, “but it’s definitely great to have that as a backup just in case.”