Congo Watch: DR Congo: British surgeons save boy's life by text

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

DR Congo: British surgeons save boy's life by text

A British doctor volunteering in DR Congo with MSF used text message instructions from a colleague to perform a life-saving amputation on a boy.

Vascular surgeon David Nott helped the 16-year-old while working 24-hour shifts with medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Rutshuru.

The boy's left arm had been ripped off and was badly infected and gangrenous.

Mr Nott, 52, had never performed the operation but followed instructions from a colleague who had.

The surgeon, who is based at Charing Cross Hospital in west London, said: "He was dying. He had about two or three days to live when I saw him."

The boy had been bitten by a hippo, the Daily Mail reports.

Mr Nott knew he needed to perform a forequarter amputation, which requires the surgeon to remove the collar bone and shoulder blade.

He contacted a colleague who had performed the operation before.

"I texted him and he texted back step by step instructions on how to do it," he said.

The surgeon had just one pint of blood and an elementary operating theatre, but the operation, performed in October, was a success and the teenager made a full recovery.

British doctors save boy's life by text

Photo: David Nott (C) volunteers for a month a year with the medical charity MSF

Source: BBC 03 Dec 08: SURGEON SAVES BOY'S LIFE BY TEXT

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