Skype was developed in 2003 to help people stay together, no matter where in the world they happen to be. Since launch, we’ve discovered many weird, wonderful and original ways that people use video calling. From pet sitting to interior design. From working out to personal stylist advice—people really do use Skype in the most creative ways.
Recently, we came across the The David Nott Foundation, a UK-based charity which gives surgeons and medical professionals the skills they need to provide relief and assistance in conflict and natural disaster zones around the world.
Founded by Dr. David Nott and his wife Elly, The David Nott Foundation’s main focus is to improve the standards and practice of humanitarian surgery in conflict and catastrophe areas around the world. Both are passionate about helping those less fortunate than themselves and their efforts in treating victims in areas of catastrophe goes from strength to strength. We caught up with Dr. Nott, “the Indiana Jones of Surgery”, and found out how Skype features in their mission to help surgeons develop their skills for warzones—and how he and his wife started volunteering their time:
“I started in Sarajevo in 1993. I watched a film called The Killing Fields with my Dad and I had a fascination about different places and helping people. The film was about a friendship between a journalist and a local interpreter in Cambodia during the civil war but essentially about people helping each other. And then something sparked in my head, that I’d like to do something like that myself. When I became a consultant, the first thing I did was to volunteer my services to Médecins Sans Frontières in Sarajevo. I should have only stayed for a couple of weeks but I ended up staying for three months.”
Dr. Nott tells us how technology and Skype came into the picture. “In 2007, I believe I was the first person ever to receive details of how to perform surgery via text messages in the Congo. This was when a friend of mine texted me the procedure of how to take off somebody’s shoulder and arm. This was in the Congo, in the middle of a jungle, without any help or anything!”
And then after surgery by text message, came the first ever known surgery performed over a Skype video call.
Surgeons in Aleppo sent me a picture of a man whose jaw had been blown off by a fragment in a bomb blast. They asked me what they thought they could do. I took the pictures around to several of my colleagues to get their opinions on what they thought was the right thing to do to fix it. The doctors in Aleppo had never done this sort of operation; they’d never mobilized a myocutaneous flap (which is a muscle and tissue flap that rotates into the neck). They’d never mobilized a muscle before either, so that’s where Skype came in. They had a phone attached to a selfie stick so I could view everything. The operation started at about 8 in the morning and went on until 4 in the afternoon. It was very complicated but it worked 100%. Using Skype was fantastic because it allowed me to see what they were doing in real time. I was telling them which bit to cut, which bit not to cut—I directed them all the way through, from the moment they picked up the knife to the moment they put in the stitches.”
Read the full article here.