What a brilliant new television series! The same team (Mint Productions) that made “Junior Doctors”, last year’s successful fly-on-the-wall documentary series is now turning it’s attention to the surgeons. The first programme last night featured two neurosurgeons, Ciaran Bolger based at a Dublin hospital and Charlie Marks, in Cork. Both surgeons came across as hard working, highly skilled but still wonderfully human human beings. It was interesting to witness how much their work impacted on their overall lives. Both commented on how hard it was not to bring work worries home with them. You may be pleased to learn that neurosurgeons refrain from alcohol (just like pilots) in order to perform with precision the following day.
I found this programme facinating on several scores. It showed up these two surgeons for what they really are – highly skilled people – but thankfully ones that are still capable of sharing humour and compassion with their patients. If anything, for me the programme was most interesting from a patient perspective. It gave a hugely graffic insight into the impact that hospitalisation and surgery can have on the patients themselves. These were no minor procedures being performed and we were able to witness first hand the dilemmas that faced each of the patient’s involved.
If I had one criticism of last nights programme it would be this. Why did Ciaran Bolger have to wait until the night before a major operation to ask his patient to decide whether or not they wanted him to remove all of the tumour (with serious risk of loss of speech) or to take a slightly less aggressive approach (with the risk of leaving some tumour behind). I don’t know what you think, but to me this seems like a pretty major decision and one that could have huge consequences for the patient. Surely, this was a decision that should have been made at a pre-operative consultation at a time that was less emotionally charged, for everyone?
Next week’s programme focuses on the cardiac surgeons. I await with anticipation of another stunning insight into real life in hospital.