Worlds' first Google Glass surgery patient comes home

Shafi Ahmed wearing the Google Glass

Shafi Ahmed wearing the Google Glass

First published in News
Last updated

A CHADWELL St Mary man who made history by being the first man to undergo a procedure broadcast live from a pair of Google Glass spectacles has returned home.

Roy Pulfer, 78, of Courtney Road, returned home on Friday after having cancerous tissue removed from his upper bowel and liver at the Royal London Hospital on May 22 while surgeon Shafi Ahmed broadcast the operation live to students using the smart specs.

The worlds’ first was watched live by 13,000 surgical students from 115 countries, all of whom had the opportunity to put their questions directly to Mr Ahmed by typing them on their keyboards, which would then appear on the bottom left-hand side of his Google Glass eyepiece.

Mr Pulfer, who first diagnosed at the beginning of the year after falling ill during a Caribbean cruise, said he was asked only two hours before the start of the operation whether he wished to take part.

Knowing he was being operated on at a teaching hospital, however, he said he was only too happy for the world – including ITV news viewers – to see he had nothing to hide.

He said: “I didn’t know anything about it until I was going for the operation that evening.

“At 3pm I was asked if I wanted to go on TV during the operation, which was at 5pm.

“It’s a teaching hospital so, if you don’t want people to learn from you, you don’t go to a hospital like that – all the way along I agreed to the students being there.”

He is now recovering at home and, although not yet well enough to leave the house is already coming to terms with his newfound fame.

“With it being Chadwell, and the fact I’ve lived here 74 years, everyone knows who I am and I’ve already received a number of phonecalls.

“It was the talk of the hospital at the time and Mr Ahmed and Hemant Kocker (consultant liver surgeon) were absolutely brilliant.”

Coincidentally, wife Jackie was diagnosed with cancer within three weeks of Mr Pulfer, with Mr Ahmed operating on her two weeks previously – without the Google Glass.

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