Kaplan wins humanitarian award

21 July 2008

Battlefield surgeon Dr 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 shortlisted for the award alongside filmstar and UNICEF ambassador, Ewan McGregor, and founder of the Ozanam Clubs for disabled young people, James Lynch.

Kaplan studied medicine at UCT, then went into exile after his internship. He has since worked in conflict situations in places as diverse as Angola, Burma, Baghdad and Kurdistan.

Much of Kaplan's work has seen him perform life-saving surgery with limited resources, against the backdrop of death, disease and poverty, while fighting his own extreme exhaustion.

Now 50, Kaplan lives in London and works as a surgeon and GP for the UK's National Health Services, although he remains on standby to go to war zones. He is also the author of two books, The Dressing Station, published in 2001, and the recent Contact Wounds: A War Surgeon's Education, which was featured in the 2006 edition of UCT News. In Contact Wounds, Kaplan gives an honest and often shocking account of conducting surgery in extreme and primitive conditions.

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