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In Gaza, hand surgery gets remote assistance from Beirut


Videoconferencing operations: A patient lying on a bed as a technician (left) adjusts a screen before the start of a Proximie surgery, with doctor Ghassan Abu Sitta in Beirut guiding Palestinian surgeon Hafez Abu Khousa in the operating room at Al Awda Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. — Reuters

Videoconferencing operations: A patient lying on a bed as a technician (left) adjusts a screen before the start of a Proximie surgery, with doctor Ghassan Abu Sitta in Beirut guiding Palestinian surgeon Hafez Abu Khousa in the operating room at Al Awda Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. — Reuters

BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza/BEIRUT: At a hospital in northern Gaza, a young patient is being prepared for hand surgery as one of the doctors leading the operation watches on – from nearly 200 miles away in Beirut. 

In the Lebanese capital Dr Ghassan Abu Sitta is guiding colleagues at Gaza's Al-Awda hospital via an online interactive platform known as Proximie, which allows the medical teams to communicate and work together via tablet computers.

Beirut-based doctor Ghassan Abu Sitta sits inside a room at the American University of Beirut Medical Center in Lebanon while using Proximie technology to guide Hafez Abu Khousa, a surgeon in Gaza, in performing a medical operation, April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
Beirut-based doctor Ghassan Abu Sitta sitting inside a room at the American University of Beirut Medical Centre in Lebanon while using Proximie technology to guide Abu Khousa in performing a medical operation. — Reuters

Doctors in Lebanon attempted remote surgery in the region for the first time at the weekend with the tool. Its makers hope it will help doctors such as Hafez Abu Khousa in Gaza, whose patient needed specialist plastic surgery his team could not provide unaided. 

"It is like the consultant is with you in the same room, giving you an opinion so that the surgery can be perfect," Abu Khousa said after the operation. 

Palestinian surgeon Hafez Abu Khousa and his assistants are guided by doctor Ghassan Abu Sitta in Beirut during a Proximie surgery in the operating room at Al Awda Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Abu Khousa and his assistants being guided by Ghassan Abu Sitta in Beirut during a Proximie surgery in the operating room at Al Awda Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. — Reuters

He was guided via live video and by his Lebanese counterpart drawing markers over an image of the patient's hand. 

Gaza has been run by the Islamist Hamas movement since 2007. Since then, Egypt and Israel have maintained a blockade on the territory, carefully monitoring the flow of goods and people to and fro. Restrictions on imports and fighting in the region have also affected medical facilities. — Reuters

   

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