|Extraordinary Conversations: Prof. David Michael Linton, M.D.|
Prof. Linton was a few minutes late for the call. He came directly from the surgical theater, where a Cypriot mother and babies were being resuscitated after dramatic surgery: delivering twin girls, one inside the uterus and one outside it. He promised that the world would hear about the rare and risky surgery in a matter of days; he was right.
Prof. Linton began his medical career in his native South Africa. His interests and expertise include every aspect of the design, management and audit of adult intensive care practice. He was President of the Critical Care Medicine Society of Southern Africa and served as Associate Editor of the Southern African Journal of Critical Care.
One of Prof. Linton’s passions is air transport for the critically ill. An instrument-rated commercial pilot with 1,300 hours, he was a volunteer pilot and Honorary Chief Medical Officer to the South African Red Cross Air Ambulance Service for ten years.
He made aliyah 15 years ago. In 1997, Prof. Linton organized the first dedicated air ambulance service in the Middle East. The surgery being completed as he spoke could not have happened without the air ambulance service, which was able to bring the pregnant woman from Cyprus for the dangerous emergency procedure.
Throughout the call, Prof. Linton emphasized the need for a well-honed team. “An intensive care team is like an orchestra,” he said. “There are many players and a conductor. Each one has a critical role.”
The Professor discussed how Hadassah reaches out to assist in medical challenges in the region—from Cyprus to Doha, from Amman to Egypt and Dubai. Sometimes patients are flown in; in other cases, Hadassah experts assist cases via the internet—reading and interpreting scans, for example. He told of a man in a brutal accident whose wife sent photos of her husband via her cell phone. Doctors were able to assist in the diagnosis and stabilize him.
Prof. Linton holds both South African and Israeli commercial pilots licenses. In Israel, he is licensed to fly multi-engine and jet aircraft. He is Honorary Pilot and Medical Director of the first Airborne Intensive Care Unit in Israel. Prof. Linton is married with four children.