War Doctor Heroes: Meet Dr Lucien

Our global network of #wardoctorheroes is at the heart of everything the foundation strives to achieve, and we are proud to introduce Dr Lucien Wasingya Lusenge from Uganda in this latest instalment.

When Lucien was just 3 weeks old, he contracted a febrile disease and his health deteriorated rapidly. His family were beginning to lose hope, and he was referred to another hospital 20km away.

It was here that a volunteer from MSF correctly diagnosed Lucien and successfully treated him in under a week. Lucien's father told him this story dozens of times as he was growing up, inspiring Lucien to become a surgeon and dedicate his own life to saving others.

In April of 2018, the Foundation awarded Lucien a scholarship to come to London and attend our specialised course, Surgical Training for the Austere Environment (STAE). The course greatly boosted Lucien's confidence in dealing with trauma patients and improved his decision-making skills for surgical emergencies. Lucien said, "After only five days, I was able to gain the confidence to handle surgical, obstetric and gynaecological emergencies with limited equipment and resources."

The skills learned on this training course have enabled Lucien to save the lives of countless people, including many victims of traffic collisions on Masaka Road, a dangerous stretch of highway that claims 200-300 lives annually.

In September, Lucien was able to journey to London once again to present his research, and paid David Nott a visit, to thank him in person.



The courage, dedication, and selflessness of doctors like Lucien inspires everything that the Foundation works for, but we cannot do it alone. You can help us to train even more surgeons and save more lives by donating today, and spreading awareness.

BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

Following our September STAE Course, David Nott and one of the Libyan surgeons we trained were featured on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme with Mishal Husain. Referred to as 'Sara' to protect her identity, this surgeon spoke to David and Mishal of how she, and other doctors working on the front lines of conflict, are often placed in situations for which they are ill-equipped.

When the Libyan Uprising began in 2011, Sara was a fourth year medical student. Many of the experienced nurses and doctors had left the hospital at this time, leaving the junior doctors and medics to take on everything. Often finding herself alone in the emergency department, Sara was confronted with hundreds of casualties each day.

The STAE Course (Surgical Training for Austere Environments) was set up by David Nott in 2013 to train surgeons, like Sara, to work in austere and hostile environments, where there are often drastic shortages of medical supplies and resources.

During the course, Sara learnt that "you can manage and do operations without much equipment” and in the future, she hopes to take her expertise to field hospitals, because "that's where they really need me."

You can listen to the full story here - skip to 2 hours 40 minutes!

Charlotte Makes the Jump for her 70th Birthday!

After constantly reading about the heartbreaking impact of barrel bombs and landmines on the lives of children and families, Charlotte Wilson decided to do something different for her 70th birthday. Instead of presents and material things, she bought herself a tandem skydive and invited her family and friends to Perthshire to watch her make the jump, all in aid of the David Nott Foundation!

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Charlotte's bravery has raised over £1000, which is enough money to train a surgeon on one of our overseas HEST courses. This surgeon can go on to save countless lives and share the skills they've learnt with fellow colleagues working in austere and hostile environments.

Charlotte is also delighted with the result: "I did it!  I did it!  I raised enough to train a doctor and I couldn’t be happier! The jump was an amazing experience and I had the most beautiful weather."

If you're doing something special to raise money for the Foundation, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We love hearing from you.

War Doctor Heroes: Meet Dr Youssef

In this latest instalment of our #wardoctorheroes series, we're proud to introduce Dr Youssef Saab from Lebanon, a surgeon who works just 3km from the Syrian border.

We first met Youssef in 2018, when he attended our overseas HEST course in Beirut. On this specialised surgical training course, Youssef learnt the importance of damage control when dealing with mass casualty incidents. Since then, he has implemented this procedure five times to great success, saving the lives of many patients. Inspired to join MSF, Dr Saab now sees between 50-60 patients each day in the Bekaa Valley refugee camp, close to the border.

Unfortunately, the majority of his patients are child refugees, who, having fled from war, now deal with chronic wounds and burns. As Youssef explained: "War is not just about the acute wounds. Wounds that have not been properly treated, which become infected or that fail to heal properly can be just as deadly."

Alongside these chronic wounds, electric shocks and hot water burns are also commonplace as conditions in the refugee camps remain hazardous, especially for young children.

Dr Youssef recently joined us on our London based STAE course, where he was able to enhance his knowledge across several key areas, including trauma obstetrics, plastic surgery and orthopaedics.

Our War Doctor Heroes series celebrates our global network of surgeons, working in some of the world’s most hostile and austere environments. Their selflessness and bravery inspires everything that the Foundation strives to achieve.

To help us train more surgeons like Youssef, you can donate here. 

Taking on the Royal Parks Half Marathon

On 13th October, six runners took on the Royal Parks Half Marathon and were successful in raising over £10,000 for the David Nott Foundation. Their dedication and perseverance means we are now able to fund the training of ten more surgeons working in austere environments. Read more about our fantastic runners below.




A 6th year medical student at the University of Cambridge, Anna-Lucia has a passion for global surgery and has wanted to be a surgeon since before she even applied to med school. Whilst going on runs to train for her first half marathon last March, Anna-Lucia listened to the War Doctor audio book. She was so enthusiastic about it, that she made her entire family read the book and bought it for friends as a birthday present.



67 year old Sima also took on the 13.1 mile course in support of the Foundation. Though she has previously completed a whopping nine full marathons, this was her first half marathon in five years.



Over the last four years, Ameera, a senior A&E nurse, has volunteered with various organisations and has taken unpaid leave with the NHS to work in Lesvos, Iraq and Macedonia. Whilst looking for new NGOs to volunteer with, Ameera came across David's book and was unable to put it down. She was even able to meet David in person at a book signing back in July!

She told us: "David’s experiences and drive to improve training for surgeons in countries of war, conflict and poverty is what motivated me to run for the foundation."

As an added challenge, Ameera also ran the 13.1 mile course in a surgical gown and cap!



After stumbling across David's Desert Island Discs a few years back, Lindsey was deeply touched by Dr Nott's humility and compassion. A medic herself, she said: "Like David I, too, as a senior GP see no borders, no one person better than any other."



Since the Foundation was first started by David and Elly in 2015, Caitlin has been working behind the scenes for us, and is one of our valued trustees. Faced with the frightening prospect of running non-stop for two hours, Caitlin nonetheless emerged victorious and crossed the finish line at 2 hours 13 minutes. You can read more about the work that Caitlin does for us here.


As David and Elly's neighbour, Jamie has long been a supporter of the David Nott Foundation and we are very grateful for everything he has done for us over the years. An avid long distance runner, Jamie managed to finish the 13.1 mile course in an incredible 1 hour 29 minutes!


We are always excited to hear about anyone taking on a challenge event for the Foundation, so please don't hesitate to get in touch! If you'd like to learn more about how you can fundraise for us, please visit out Get Involved page.

Friends of David Nott Foundation

We're delighted to tell you about the new Friends of David Nott Foundation societies that are up and running across several UK universities. These societies will be raising awareness for the work of the Foundation and helping to inspire the next generation of War Doctors. They'll also be holding fundraising events on campus to support the training of more medics working in austere environments.

Want to start your own Friends of the David Nott Foundation Society? Head to our dedicated FDNF page to find out how.

David and Ammar recently had the opportunity to visit the University of Manchester, where the first 'FDNF' society was established, to deliver a lecture on humanitarian medicine. Speaking to over 200 students, David explained that "If you really want to do something, you can."

Alongside Manchester, students at St George's, Sussex and Durham University have also set up FDNF societies and will be raising awareness for us throughout the year. As Ammar Darwish explained to some of these med students, "The best way to get into humanitarian work is to volunteer for these charities and complete your training."

We're thrilled to see how these societies develop and privileged to help inspire the next generation of humanitarian medics. If you would like to set up an FDNF society at your university, please drop us an email!

STAE Course September 2019

At the end of September, we ran our 7th STAE Course - Surgical Training for Austere Environments. These courses, which are run in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons, equip medics with the knowledge, skills and confidence to treat patients and save lives. But the training does not end with these courses alone. As Dr Koma Akim, one of the surgeons we trained, said: “Being able to practise the procedure means I have the confidence to do it, and if I can do it, I can teach it.” Through our training and through this worldwide knowledge sharing, we are proud that our courses have saved an estimated 1.5 million lives and limbs to date.

Because of your continued generosity, we are able to offer fully funded scholarships to surgeons who work in challenging conditions to attend this London-based course. We are delighted that our September STAE course was completed by 14 such scholars from all over the world, including South Sudan, Cameroon, Libya and Pakistan. These are some of their stories.


Introducing Youssef 

Youssef is a Lebanese surgeon who works 3km from the Syrian border. The majority of his patients are child refugees, who, having fled from war, now deal with chronic wounds and burns. As Youssef explained, war is not just about the acute wounds. Wounds that have not been properly treated, which become infected or that fail to heal properly can be just as deadly.

Dangerous conditions in the refugee camps at the border also mean that further injury is common. Burns from electric shocks, boiling water and fires are a regular occurrence and following up on patients presents an additional challenge. Working with just one other surgeon, Youssef has performed over 400 surgeries since the start of 2019 and sees around 50 patients every day.


Introducing Koma


Koma is a surgeon from South Sudan who regularly deals with gunshot and arrow wounds as a result of cattle rustling among pastoral communities. His patients are often injured hours away from the nearest hospital and those that survive the journey come to him with severe wounds.

Due to a lack of orthopaedic equipment in the hospital, Koma has to treat the majority of fracture injuries non-operatively, even though the patients would often benefit from external fixators or skeletal tractions.

The STAE course has increased Koma's confidence in dealing with these injuries, and he is eager to share his knowledge with colleagues in South Sudan. With the dry season coming up, this skills-sharing is especially important, as it is during this time that doctors expect the highest rates of trauma injuries as a result of the castle raiding.


We're proud to be able to share some of our surgeons' stories with you. You can help us to train more surgeons and save more lives by donating to the Foundation here.

September 2019 Newsletter

Hello and welcome to our latest news update.

In this month's issue, we will reflect on our recent overseas course in Syria, highlight one of our incredible #wardoctorheroes and find out why three doctors have cycled 2,000 miles to raise money for the David Nott Foundation. We're also delighted to introduce to you our new Chair, Graham Hodgkin.

Thank you as always for your continued support in our global mission train more surgeons and save more lives.


Taking our training to the front line



Our team has recently returned from its latest mission - to Idlib in Syria. With 46 airstrikes occurring since April on healthcare facilities, the most dangerous place to be in Idlib is certainly a hospital.

Millions of people have been left without access to proper healthcare as a large number of hospitals have been put out of action, leaving doctors to face the challenge of saving lives without losing their own. 

To help address this problem, we trained 24 surgeons and general practitioners, focusing on improving their skills in emergency trauma surgery and in particular, on managing blast injuries and gunshot wounds. Read more about it here.


Why cycle 2,000 miles?


Over the summer, doctors Keiran Macleod, Elliott Taylor and Richard Elston cycled a total of 2,000 miles between them to help us train more doctors working in austere environments. We've been absolutely bowled over by their level of dedication in taking on these extraordinary physical challenges to support our work and we’re delighted to share their stories with you.

After six gruelling days, 108 hours on the bike, 1,000 miles, 60,000 ft climbed, 486,000 spins of the pedal, and a lot of Haribo, doctors Keiran Macleod and Elliott Taylor both finished the North Coast 500 challenge.

“The cycle was an incredibly tough challenge but was an absolutely fantastic experience - the scenery was unbelievable.  It's a huge honour for us both to raise money for the Foundation.”

At the same time, Dr Richard Elston took on the incredible challenge of cycling the 994 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End with four friends. A doctor who’s just finished working in A&E, Richard will be joining the British Army next year. After reading War Doctor, he was inspired by the difference that the teaching made and by the efforts of the local surgeons.

“We are incredibly privileged to be able to choose to take on challenges, to be able to dip in and out of difficult situations; many people do not have a choice and are instead born into war zones where daily life is an existential struggle, incompatible to anything we will experience on our cycle.”

Read more about what motivated them here.


Spotlight on Dr Aeshah Aelghamji



The Foundation's global network of #wardoctorheroes is our proudest achievement. Our work is about investing in people, providing the skills that save lives.

In this feature, we're proud to introduce Dr Aeshah from Libya. Dr Aeshah travelled 1,000 miles to attend our HEST course in Misrata, Libya. She is part of a small team of surgeons in Sabha, south west Libya and  is used to fighting to keep patients alive whilst shrapnel and bullets tear through her hospital building.

“A single shot to an oxygen tube could have destroyed the whole theatre where we were operating but we couldn’t stop – we felt we were making a difference.”





Introducing Graham Hodgkin



The Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Graham Hodgkin as Chair of its Board of Trustees.

Graham commented: “I am both thrilled and honoured to be appointed to the Board of Trustees for the David Nott Foundation. As Chair, my aim is to support the evolution of the charity and to help enhance the scale and impact of its operations. It is a sad fact that conflicts and natural disasters will continue to occur across the world, all with far-reaching humanitarian consequences."

Read more about Graham's experience and motivation on our website.



Appointment of Chair of Board of Trustees - Graham Hodgkin

The Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Graham Hodgkin as Chair of its Board of Trustees.

Graham commented: “I am both thrilled and honoured to be appointed to the Board of Trustees for the David Nott Foundation. As Chair, my aim is to support the evolution of the charity and to help enhance the scale and impact of its operations. It is a sad fact that conflicts and natural disasters will continue to occur across the world, all with far-reaching humanitarian consequences. As the only charity dedicated solely to teaching and training surgical skills in austere and hostile environments, our mission is both clear and compelling. It will be a genuine privilege to play a part in ensuring that the Foundation continues to help doctors in these disaster zones to provide the best possible care to their patients and that David and Elly Nott’s vision of a global network of medical professionals is both realised and sustained.”

David Nott added: “Elly and I are delighted that Graham has joined the David Nott Foundation as Chair of our Board of Trustees. His experience growing London Air Ambulance and in finance, management and governance mark him out as an exceptional addition to Foundation’s team. We all look forward to working with him as we deliver much-needed surgical training in conflict and disaster areas worldwide.”

An experienced leader, Graham has held a number of executive and non-executive roles across the financial services, charity and social enterprise sectors. He has founded his own independent consultancy business and is currently an interim executive for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation; a non-executive Director for Resonance Ltd; and sits on the Advisory Board for City Mental Health Alliance.

Previously the Chief Executive Office at London’s Air Ambulance, he led the successful transformation of the advanced trauma team charity, culminating in the acquisition of a much-needed second medical helicopter for London. He was also a Director of the Association of Air Ambulances and a Trustee for the national AAA charity.

Prior to that, Graham was a Managing Director and UK Country Head for Global Transaction Banking at Deutsche Bank, where he led a variety of client-facing businesses as well as being heavily involved with their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. During the last phase of his DB career, he designed and managed their innovative £10m Social Impact Investment Fund of Funds.