The David Nott Foundation office is now closed due to COVID-19 restrictions and our staff are working remotely. Some of our forthcoming surgical training courses have had to be postponed and we continue to support surgeons working in austere environments, globally, using safer alternative means. The best way to contact us is via email on [email protected]



The team has recently returned from their latest mission to Syria. With 46 airstrikes occurring since April on healthcare facilities, the most dangerous place to be in Idlib is certainly a hospital. With many hospitals now out of action, millions of people have been left without access to healthcare facilities and doctors have been left to face the challenge of saving lives without losing their own.

In order to confront this problem and the worsening conditions of patients, the Foundation’s Hostile Environment Surgical Training (HEST) Faculty comprising David Nott, Ammar Darwish and Mounir Hakimi recently delivered a HEST course in the Dr Mohamad Wassim Maaz Hospital near Bab Al-Salameh on the Turkish-Syrian border. Their objective was to deliver the course to 24 surgeons and general practitioners from Idlib, in partnership with Syria Relief and the Independent Doctors Association, to improve their skills in emergency trauma surgery, with a specific focus on how to treat blast injuries and gunshot wounds.



Intensifying airstrikes and destruction are slowly forcing everybody towards Idlib city. The only defence they have is to be prepared. The HEST course has aided this in equipping the surgeons and general practitioners with the skills necessary to tackle the increasingly life threatening injuries and rising population, allowing them to significantly improve the outcome for their patients.

The settings where HEST is taught rule out cadaveric teaching, so the Foundation’s whole body simulator was employed for training. Now with its legs removable, enabling faster and cheaper transport, the impact that it made on the quality of training and the ease with which the Faculty could demonstrate anatomy and procedures was excellent. Supporting the simulator was a suite of individual models of organs, blood vessels and key anatomies with which the students could train. The Faculty also trialled two new commercially-sourced neonatal resuscitation models (Laerdal Medical’s NeoNatalie) and two new neurosurgery models (Delta Surgical’s Rowena), which were a great success.


The Foundation’s Faculty are experts in austere environment surgery and deliver tailored training to a globally recognised standard. With the course having been tailored to match the advanced level of the surgeons and general practitioners and the quality of interaction being excellent, the team came away confident with the exceptional impact that it will have on the victims of the conflict.


  • Marit Borsanyi On August 24, 2019at 1:51 pm - Reply


  • janet Henfrey On September 20, 2019at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Congratulations to all those courageous surgeons and GPs undertaking this training and work.
    Are there no women able to participate?

    • DNF On October 2, 2019at 1:20 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your kind words, Janet.

      Women are/were able to participate and in fact we had two female doctors with us for part of the week. Unfortunately they weren’t around when the photo was taken.

      There are very few, possibly no, female surgeons in Idlib. This is partly due to the intensity of the war and also the very small number of female surgeons in the area even before the war started.

  • sarah saunders-davies On September 20, 2019at 8:03 pm - Reply

    It has been an absolute privilege to read ‘War Doctor’ – one of the most thought provoking and heart racing books I have ever read. Who is the little person sitting next to David on the jacket cover? I think we should be told!!
    I would like to organise a fundraising event in London early next year to help spread the word about this most remarkable surgeon. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. He truly walks with destiny.

    • DNF On October 2, 2019at 1:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your kind words Sarah. We’d be delighted to have your support through the fundraising event. We’d love to know more about what you have planned – perhaps you could email us [email protected]

  • Daphne Dodds On September 21, 2019at 11:22 am - Reply

    This work is beyond excellent.

    • DNF On October 2, 2019at 1:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your kind words, Daphne

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