Battlefield surgeon wins International Humanitarian Award

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Monday, 26 May 2008
South African battle-field surgeon Jonathan Kaplan has become the 7th recipient of the prestigious Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.Bestowed in honour of Scotland’s 18th Century poet Robert Burns, the award recognises those individuals who put humanitarian concerns above all else. Kaplan was presented with the award at a special ceremony held in Ayr, Scotland earlier this month.The South African was shortlisted for the award alongside film-star and UNICEF ambassador Ewan McGregor, and founder of the Ozanam Clubs for disabled young people James Lynch. Presenting Kaplan with the award, Sir Tom Killup, Chair of the Judging Panel, praised the work of humanitarian aid and battle-field medical workers by saying:  “They perform amazing selfless acts without a second thought, saving lives that may otherwise have been lost, while raising international awareness of potential humanitarian disasters.”
Kaplan lives in London and works as a surgeon for the UK’s National Health Service, though remains on stand-by to go to war zones. He is also the author of two books, The Dressing Station (2001) and Contact Wounds (2007), in which he gives an honest and often shocking account of conducting surgery in extreme and primitive conditions. Previous winners of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award include Nobel Laureate Sir John Sulston who played a central role in the human genome sequencing project and Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, a human rights activist and outspoken critic of the Mugabe government.
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Good news for booksThe winner of the Book Data/SAPnet Booksellers’ Choice Award for 2002 was announced last week
The prize went to The Dressing Station: A Surgeon’s Odyssey by Jonathan Kaplan, published by Picador. The Dressing Station also won the Alan Paton Award in July.The Book Data/SAPnet Booksellers’ Choice Award goes to the book that “booksellers most enjoyed reading, promoting and selling”, and is worth R50 000. Members of the South African Booksellers’ Association nominate and vote for the books up for the prize.
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