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Whitechapel hospital surgeon live tweets cancer patient’s operation

PUBLISHED: 16:00 08 March 2017

Dr Shafi Ahmed with Doug Williams after the operation.

Dr Shafi Ahmed with Doug Williams after the operation.

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A surgeon at The Royal London Hospital has become the first person to live tweet an operation around the world.

Dr Shafi Ahmed, wearing the superman surgical cap, performs the operation. Dr Shafi Ahmed, wearing the superman surgical cap, performs the operation.

Dr Shafi Ahmed, a laparoscopic and colorectal surgeon for Barts Health NHS Trust, gave medical students and the public a virtual tour of a day in the life of a surgeon, from his commute until the end of the day.

Luckily Shafi wasn’t tweeting whilst he performed surgery, at the Whitechapel Road based hospital, as a member of the theatre team provided updates and images throughout the operation.

Shafi hopes that the tweets will provide medical students and the public with a better understanding of the measures surgeons take to keep patients safe during operations.

“Twitter is an ideal platform to demystify surgery, bringing the world-class operations performed every day in the NHS to everyone’s mobile phones,” said Shafi. “It’s important for patients to see how we work to keep them safe in surgery, as well as inspire future surgeons by giving a glimpse into how we operate.”

Doug Williams, from Romford, had the surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from his bowels, on Thursday, and the 62-year-old was more than happy to have his insides, literally, on display for the world to see.

“I’m a big fan of technology and am happy to support this being on Twitter,” said Doug. “It will make surgery better for the future by helping other surgeons to learn.”

The live tweeted surgery had a very positive response from members of the public and students alike.

@elwah1983 tweeted: “the live tweeting by @NHS during this cancer operation has been eye opening and fascinating! Amazing work by all involved #InAwe.”

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