Romford cancer patient has first live tweeted operation

PUBLISHED: 16:00 08 March 2017

Dr Shafi Ahmed with Doug Williams after the operation.

Dr Shafi Ahmed with Doug Williams after the operation.


A cancer patient from Romford has become the first person to have his surgery live tweeted around the world.

Dr Shafi Ahmed, wearing the superman surgical cap, performs the operation. Dr Shafi Ahmed, wearing the superman surgical cap, performs the operation.

Doug Williams had surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from his bowels on Thursday with pictures and updates of the operation tweeted from the @NHS account for the benefit of medical students.

The 62-year-old was more than happy to have his insides, literally, on display for the world to see.

“I’m a big fan of technology and am happy to support this being on Twitter,” said Doug. “It will make surgery better for the future by helping other surgeons to learn.”

The surgery was performed by Dr Shafi Ahmed, a laparoscopic and colorectal surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, who gave people a virtual tour of a day in the life of a surgeon from his commute until the end of the day.

Luckily Shafi wasn’t tweeting whilst he performed surgery as a member of the theatre team provided updates and images of the operation.

Shafi hopes that the tweets will provide medical students and the public with a better understanding of the measures surgeons take to keep patients safe during operations.

“Twitter is an ideal platform to demystify surgery, bringing the world-class operations performed every day in the NHS to everyone’s mobile phones,” said Shafi. “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.”

The live tweeted surgery had a very positive response from members of the public and students alike.

@elwah1983 tweeted: “the live tweeting by @NHS from during this cancer operation has been eye opening and fascinating! Amazing work by all involved #InAwe”

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 17:00

A councillor is warning residents to be wary of giving any personal details over the phone, as fraudsters have been targeting people in the borough.

Yesterday, 15:04

Pupils at an Upminster primary school learned about the importance of resilience from creative writing workshops taught by West Ham United’s Foundation.

Yesterday, 12:08

An Elm Park florist who is a renowned “chatterbox’ raised more than £400 for charity as she “shut up for Addup” and stayed silent for 12 hours.

Yesterday, 11:35

Tube drivers have u-turned on their strike plans yet again and will now be walking out for 24 hours on Wednesday, April 11.

Yesterday, 10:02

A team of memory joggers took to the streets of Romford, leading the search for the borough’s missing £1million European Millionaire Maker winner.

Yesterday, 07:00

A man accused of murdering a drug addict in Harold Hill, was pressured not to “snitch” on another defendant, the Old Bailey heard yesterday, Tuesday, March 20.

Tue, 16:00

Detectives are appealing for witnesses and information following a fatal collision this morning.

Tue, 14:20

A shop in Upminster was robbed by two men with a 15-inch knife and a hammer.


Fed up with haggling on people’s drives over a used car, only to find out later it’s on its last legs?

Many drivers will be heading to the showrooms in March looking to pick up a car bearing the shiny new 18 registration plate.

Window and conservatory specialist Ken Rhodes talks about the possibilities for brightening up your home for the new year, and with their home improvement finance deals it’s possible for everyone to make some changes

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now