ANN ARBOR, MI – Olympic Tongan athlete, Pita Taufatofua, also known as the Shirtless Tongan, has been spotted standing shirtless and glistening in baby oil, braving the arctic tundra of operating room (OR) 4 at University of Michigan Medical Center.
“It is unclear why he is here, but he’s not interfering with anyone, so we’re quite okay with it,” said fourth-year surgical resident Ellen Moreno, who has allowed her med student to take over the Whipple resection unsupervised so she could make sure “I keep an eye on Pita, you know, for the patient’s safety, of course.”
For those who have forgotten, Taufatofua was the opening ceremony flag bearer for Tonga during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and proceeded to do the honors bare-chested in sub-freezing temperatures much to the awe of everyone watching live or on television. Not surprisingly, he was hospitalized for hypothermia.
Tongan officials say Taufatofua recovered remarkably well but instantly developed a need to be back out in cold weather with little clothes on, a condition called winter withdrawal. Looking for the next challenge, he naturally turned his eyes to the arctic tundra of a modern medicine OR.
“Surgeons like it cold, but so does Pita,” said the Shirtless Tongan, still waving the Tongan flag though the Winter Games ended last month.
“Normally we keep to ourselves on our side of the drape, but it’s hard to keep your eyes off of him,” explained anesthesiologist Dr. James Robinson. “You know, we wanted to… uhhh… help Dr. Moreno keep an eye on this guy, yeah, that’s it… for safety reasons.” Robinson paused, realizing he wasn’t fooling anyone. “Oh, come on, guys! Look at that smile and perfectly sculpted body. Can’t one appreciate him for the beautiful specimen that he is?”
Security has been called to regulate the throngs of thousands outside OR 4 trying to gown up and get a glimpse of the Shirtless Tongan up close.