The first ever surgery to be streamed live globally using Google Glass technology has been performed at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
Shafi Amed, colorectal surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, removed cancerous tissue from the liver and bowel of Roy Pulfer, a 78-year-old pensioner from Essex, using the technologically advanced spectacles. Following Thursday’s surgery, Amed said: “I am delighted that by using Google Glass technology we are transporting our future surgeons directly into the operating theatre. Using this technology will support us to deliver high-quality and safe care now and in to the future.”
The Google Glass gave audiences a surgeon’s-eye view of the entire procedure in real-time, while allowing viewers to see how an operating theatre works.
13,000 surgical students from 115 countries watched the stream live on computers and mobile phones, and were able to directly ask Amed questions about the operation by typing and submitting them to the online feed. The students’ queries then appeared on the bottom left-hand side of the Google Glass worn by Amed, who answered them verbally during the surgery.
Pulfer agreed to have his operation broadcasted globally when approached by Surgeon Shafi Amed and his team of medical students. The 78-year-old said: “I’m happy that it will help educate young people. They like using technology so it’s great for them. The staff have been great to me all the way and explained every step of the operation so clearly.”
Professor Norman Williams, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, explained the importance of Pulfer’s decision to allow the technology to take part: “Today we got a glimpse of what technology can do for the future of surgical training. The unique and unparalleled view of an operation means trainee surgeons know better what to expect when they go in to the operating theatre.”
The procedure was streamed throughout six continents, with large audiences from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia