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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.

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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”

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