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Roy’s cancer is first to be removed by Royal London using Google Glass

PUBLISHED: 17:20 02 June 2014

Surgery at the Royal London

Surgery at the Royal London

RLH promo

Pensioner Roy Pulfer has the world’s most-famous cancer after making its debut when the operation to remove it was broadcast live to 115 countries.

Royal London surgeon Shafi Ahmed and the Google eyewear he used in Roy's operationRoyal London surgeon Shafi Ahmed and the Google eyewear he used in Roy's operation

His surgeon at The Royal London Hospital has also become the first in Britain to broadcast a live operation online using a pair of Google Glass eyewear.

The operation to remove 78-year-old Roy’s cancerous tissue from his liver and bowel was watched by 13,000 surgical students around the world on computers and mobile phones.

Roy, from Tilbury in Essex, agreed to have his operation broadcast.

“I’m happy that it will help educate young people,” he said before going into the operating theatre. “They like using technology—so it’s great for them.

“The staff also explained every step of the operation to me clearly.”

The surgeon, Shafi Ahmed, Associate Dean at Queen Mary University and the London School of Medicine in Whitechapel, answered students’ questions live when they typed them online as they watched.

Their questions appeared on the bottom of his Google Glass, without restricting his view of Roy’s operation, which he answered verbally online.

Mr Shafi said afterwards: “Using this technology is transporting our future surgeons directly into the operating theatre.”

The Google Glass gives online viewers a surgeon’s-eye view of the procedure from beginning to end, providing insight into how an operating theatre works.

They watched as consultant Hemant Kocher removed the cancerous tissue in Roy’s liver which had spread from the bowel.

Prof Richard Trembath, vice-principal at Queen Mary’s, commented: “This pioneering work enables us to expand our reach around the world with technology that will eventually become a main component in teaching medical students.”

The procedure was broadcast overseas to students across Europe, Australasia and South America. Countries previously have only shared operations with their own students.

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