A surgeon at The Royal London Hospital has become the first to live tweet surgery world-wide from the @NHS Twitter account. Providing a virtual tour of a day in the life of a surgeon, the tweets followed Mr Ahmed from his morning commute, meeting his theatre team and carrying out safety checks before surgery, with even a public vote to choose which surgical cap he would wear (with Superman the clear winner).
While Mr Ahmed operated to remove cancer from the bowel of his patient, a member of his theatre team continued to tweet updates and photos. The public and medical students watching were then given the rare opportunity to put their questions to the surgeon in a live Twitter Q&A once he finished the surgery.
Mr Shafi Ahmed, Consultant General, Laparoscopic and Colorectal Surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, explained: "Twitter is an ideal platform to demystify surgery, bringing the world-class operations performed every day in the NHS to everyone's mobile phones. 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."
His patient, 62 year-old Doug Williams from Romford, Essex said: “I’m a big fan of technology and am happy to support this being on Twitter. It will make surgery better for the future by helping other surgeons to learn.”
Many on Twitter commented on the posts:
@ashmonks1 tweeted '@NHS what a brilliant opportunity for students! Thank you :)'
@elwah1983 tweeted 'the live tweeting by @NHS from during this cancer operation has been eye opening and fascinating! Amazing work by all involved #InAwe'