Surgeon Amputates Using Texted Instructions

Phone helps save Congolese teen
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Dec 3, 2008 5:11 PM CST
Patients are seen in a hospital in eastern Congo. The surgery was performed in a basic facility with only a pint of blood if something went wrong.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A volunteer surgeon in a Congolese war zone followed texted instructions to perform an amputation that saved a 16-year-old boy's life. The teen's badly injured and infected arm required that his collar bone and shoulder blade be immediately removed, but Dr. David Nott had never conducted such a procedure. He contacted a British colleague back home via phone text, "and he texted back step-by-step instructions," the Guardian reports.

"I had to think long and hard about whether it was right to leave a young boy with only one arm in the middle of this fighting. But in the end he would have died without it," Nott says. The complicated surgery would ideally have been carefully planned and prepped, but the circumstances required swift action in a rudimentary operating theater. The teen has made a full recovery.