Indiana Jones of surgery wins humanitarian award

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London doctor who has stared down the barrel of a gun wins the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2016 

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22nd January 2016 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

He's been dubbed the Indiana Jones of surgery after volunteering with Médecins San Frontière and the International Red Cross every year for two decades, now David Nott has been honoured as the winner of this year's Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.

Nott, 58, a consultant surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, was presented with his award at a celebration at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway on Thursday 20 January.

It was presented by Scottish Government Europe minister Humza Yousef in honour of Nott's contribution to helping people in need of medical assistance in conflict and natural disaster zones around the world.

Once you're out there and saving the lives of people – including children and teenagers the world has forgotten about – you just focus on getting the job done

Nott first volunteered in the 1990s in Bosnia in a hospital that was knicknamed "Swiss cheese" because it was riddled in bullet holes.

Over the years he has carried out life-saving operations in often makeshift environments, dodging bombs and bullets, in countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and Syria.

Nott has now set up his own foundation dedicated to providing surgeons and medical professionals with the skills needed to operate in conflict and natural disaster zones around the world.

He said: "I am stunned and very proud to receive this amazing award, which I share with the many people I have worked with over the years.

"You know that you're taking a risk when you do this type of humanitarian work, but once you're out there and saving the lives of people – including children and teenagers the world has forgotten about – you just focus on getting the job done."

The Burns Humitarian Award is organised by South Ayrshire Council and Scotland's Winter Festivals.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, the leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: "David's work has quite literally saved lives and there are hundreds of people alive today who would not be here if it wasn't for his bravery, tenacity and commitment to others.

"He has put himself in danger and put his own life at risk to protect other people and he is a perfect example of Robert Burns' humanitarian values."

The runners up for this year's award were Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder of Mary's Meals, and Zannah Bukar Mustapha, who works with children affected by the conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government.

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