Text Messages Guide Amputation In Congo A doctor in the Democratic Republic of Congo performs a dangerous operation with the aid of instructions from a colleague on vacation in the Azores.

Text Messages Guide Amputation In Congo

Text Messages Guide Amputation In Congo

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The prognosis was bad for a wounded teenager in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 16-year-old, identified in press reports only as "J," was apparently caught by gunfire in Congo's civil war. His left arm had to be amputated just below the shoulder to save his life, but an infection flared.

Dr. David Nott, a vascular surgeon at London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, was working in Congo for Doctors Without Borders. Nott has been one of Tony Blair's doctors.

He quickly determined that J needed a forequarter amputation to remove his infected shoulder. The field hospital at which he was working had just one pint of blood and limited supplies, and Nott had never performed that kind of amputation.

He tried to contact one of his London colleagues, Dr. Meirion Thomas, who was vacationing in the Azores. Phone and e-mail didn't work, but Nott did get a text message through.

Thomas sent back two messages detailing the procedure and closed by saying, "Easy! Good luck!"

Nott performed the operation successfully, and the boy is recovering. Dr. Nott told the U.K's Mail Online, "God works in mysterious ways, and this time he was working via text message."