Egyptian doctors had to use the light generated by their mobile phones to perform surgery after a sudden power cut at a hospital, local media report.
The patient was about to have a minor gall-bladder operation when the lights went out in the southern city of Qina.
An urgent inquiry was ordered by the provincial governor, saying there was no excuse that the hospital’s back-up generator did not work.
Blackouts have recently become part of daily life for many Egyptians. The doctors in Qina were lucky because their mobile phones were fully charged.
Egypt, which has a population of about 80 million, is not believed to have the funds to purchase the fuel needed to keep its power stations running.
The government blames the power cuts on increasing public consumption, which forces the authorities to cut off electricity for as long as two hours, twice a day.
But Egyptians, especially in poorer towns and villages, complain that the power cuts last much longer.
The opposition accuses the government of President Mohammed Morsi of mismanaging the economy and being incompetent.