Zhalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan

It is among the most delicate of operations, requiring fine precision from a steady hand.

But for a team of cardiac surgeons in Kyrgyzstan, performing open heart surgery was made all the more complicated when their operating theatre was plunged into darkness.

In the midst of the blackout the dedicated doctors refused to let their patient suffer, instead completing the life-saving operation by mobile phone light. Illuminating their phones, the team held them above the patient's open chest as torches allowing cardiac surgeon Dr Kaldarbek Abdramanov, 45, to carefully repair patient Tagir Karabayev's heart. The 54-year-old patient's heart had stopped, the result of heart disease.

Dr Abdramanov said halfway through the delicate operation the lights went out, following a government crackdown on electricity consumption. Kyrgyzstan relies predominately on hydropower but has been struggling to generate enough electricity due to low water levels in local rivers. Dr Abdramanov, head of the state-run heart clinic in the city of Zhalal-Abad, in central Kyrgyzstan, said: 'Fortunately, the patient survived. 'But these are the kind of extreme circumstances under which we perform operations on hearts that have stopped beating. 'I am not sure if it is a crime or an act of heroism.

'But we now face a real dilemma. Do we continue trying to save lives hoping that the lights won't go out, or do we just stop when they do and hope the patient survives until we get the electricity back?'

Now locals have said they will come to the clinic's aid, raising money to buy a generator to power the clinic in the event of future power cuts. Shop owner Tatyana Bobrovskaya, 33, said: 'Dr Abdramanov and his team saved the life of my friend's mother. 'What they do is so important I want everyone here to organise a collection so that if the electricity goes again, there will be enough light.'