The word “inspirational” is over-used. But last week’s edition of Desert Island Discs was exactly that. It grabbed my attention, reduced me to tears twice and made me consider changing my life before, you know, it’s too late.
Kirsty Young’s castaway was Welsh consultant Dr David Nott, in his late-50s, a qualified pilot and surgeon at the Royal Marsden, St Mary’s and Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals in London. For the past 20 years he has taken unpaid leave to work in the world’s hellholes: Syria, Gaza, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq. He will operate on anyone, friend or foe. But he is no pious dogooder, freely admitting that apart from the scalding, bowelloosening terror there is an adrenalin rush which is part of the appeal.
He operated on a man while six Islamic State fighters brandishing AK-47s watched his every move. If they’d realised he was British he would have been executed on the spot. In Gaza, tending a little girl with her guts hanging out, he was ordered to leave the hospital – and the child – because it was about to be bombed. He and his anaesthetist stayed put. How could they leave her to die alone? The hospital was not bombed and the little girl survived her operation.
Read the full article here.