Dr Steve Carr
If you look back at all the valedictories that have been written, almost all of them contain some superlative description of the fellow. Steve will not be exempt. Without doubt, Steve Carr, is the nicest guy we’ve ever had. All the fellows are good surgeons, clinicians, technicians, intellects, communicators etc. and Steve is no exception, but no one has been as friendly, kind and considerate as Steve. Combine this with an absolute dedication to patient care and you have an amazing doctor.
Steve came to us from Denver, Colorado and will take an appointment at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. While he was here with his wife Mary, they had their first child, Benjamin. We wish them the very best of luck in the future.
Where does one start when trying to describe a phenomenon? I have only accepted a fellow sight unseen on 2 previous occasions but there was no way I could get Andy Parsa off my back until I said yes. Those of you who knew Andy, knows that he was the consummate resident advocate and in his opinion Omar HAD to learn my techniques….there was no compromise. He must’ve called me 20 times pushing for me to say yes and I was so pleased that I accepted Omar only 5 days before Andy’s tragic and sudden death.
I don’t know where to start when elucidating Omar’s amazing qualities. It just has to be in point form…
• Kind and generous person
• Loving and devoted husband to Maya
• Skilled surgeon
• Courage and conviction both in and out of the operating room
• Dedication to every thing he takes on
• Affable and sociable
• Takes computers apart as a hobby!
• Delightful traveling partner
• Good bloke
It was a privilege and a pleasure having him as our fellow….and even more pleasurable getting to know his gorgeous wife, Maya. They will be sadly missed by me, my family, our staff and all their many friends that they made during their time in Sydney. Omar is now an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School and we wish him the best of Aussie luck…..our loss is their gain!!!!
Reid came to us from UCSD, San Diego, with a glowing reference from one of my old and dear friends, Larry Marshall. Those of you who know Larry, know that Larry does not mince his words. If Larry doesn’t like someone, then that person knows it and so does everyone else, even if they don’t want to know! So when Larry told me that Reid was a solid doctor with excellent clinical skills, I believed him.
Reid demonstrated a level of commitment never before seen at the Centre. His care and concern for his patients took precedence over all other concerns. His surgical skills were excellent and matched his clinical acumen. True to form, Reid produced more peer-reviewed articles whilst our fellow than any other (…Mike Sughrue doesn’t count! ). Reid returned to UCSD with his beautiful wife where I’m sure he’ll make a huge impact on the US scene and will eventually settle in his home state of Hawaii. We wish him the best of luck….aloha !!
Patrick was also from Duke University. However, that’s probably the only thing he had in common with his predecessor, Vijay Agarwal. Vijay was loud, Patrick was quiet. Vijay had a crude, politically incorrect sense-of-humour, Patrick had a wicked, politically correct sense-of-humour. Patrick had a pedigree that read like the who’s who of academia….an engineering degree from Caltech, a medical degree and residency from Harvard and a joint appointment with the departments of engineering and neurosurgery at Duke University.
Like many fellows before him, Patrick sacrificed a lot to learn our minimally invasive techniques. For 6 months, he left his beautiful wife and young daughter to spend time in Sydney mastering keyhole cranial surgery…..not for financial reward, not because it was a compulsory component of his career, not for any other reason but to offer his future patients better outcomes. Patrick worked tirelessly while he was with us at the Centre. His commitment to patient care was second to none and his compassion and kindness to his patients was exemplary.
Patrick taught me about commitment. His vegan diet was not from any religious belief or any dietary likes or dislikes. It was solely a decision based on his love of sentient creatures and a knowledge that our current consumption of meat is unsustainable. Patrick will be missed by all, especially me.
What does one say about a colourful person who is larger-than-life and whose personality is so loud, that it silences all those around? If you know or have met Vijay, you know exactly what I mean. Vijay came to us from the auspicious halls of Duke University, arguably the best brain cancer centre in the world. We were told that he was a good resident, an innovative thinker with several patents to his name, and a hard working resident. We were not told that he was once a stand-up comedian, who has a wit that is sharper than a box-cutter and quicker than a rattle-snake. We were not told that he has self-confidence that makes confidant people like me look like church mice.
Vijay WAS a good resident and he WAS an innovative thinker and he did a superb job with his patient care. But more than that, he entertained us, amused us, and taught us some valuable lessons in life…..all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!
I will miss him very much, but I know that he will continue to bring joy and warmth to all those lucky enough to work with him.
Mike came to us from the University of Tennessee at which Prof. Rick Boop is the Chairman of Neurosurgery. Rick is also the President of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Mike holds the distinction of being the first and only fellow to be accepted without a personal interview. Given the many long hours that I spend with the fellow both in Sydney and overseas, the interview is an important aspect of the selection process as it is vital that I actually LIKE the fellow and feel that I would enjoy the time together.
Mike did not disappoint. Mike is a true “Southern” gentleman. He is not only a gifted surgeon, a devoted clinician and a compassionate doctor, he is a renaissance man with good humour, integrity and a warm and generous soul.
I really enjoyed the time that we spent together, and like many of my fellows, Mike taught me more about friendship, commitment and aspects of neurosurgery than I probably taught him.
Mike, we wish you all the best in the future and know that any patient who is lucky enough to have you as their surgeon, will be blessed as we were over the last 6 months.
Dr Nicholas Koechlin
Nick did his residency training in Zurich at the University of Zurich. This is considered one of the most prestigious centres in the world, indeed the hospital where Prof. Gazi Yasargil was Chairman for many years. He then completed a fellowship with Prof. Robert Reisch, considered one of the pioneers in minimally invasive neurosurgery. Nick was with us for 12 months. Initially as an Observational Fellow then as the Clinical Fellow.
Neurosurgery is arguably the most physically and emotionally taxing of all the medical and surgical specialties. It is a demanding discipline where patients can die unexpectedly and mistakes are unforgiving. With this pressure, neurosurgeons often develop a hard exterior, distancing themselves from their patients and sometimes even their loved ones. It is a plausible self-preservation defence mechanism. Nick was the opposite.
He was warm and compassionate with his patients and relatives and engaged all the nursing staff and other health care workers in his daily interactions. He was not only like this professionally but also in his social interactions. Nick is a technically excellent surgeon, who has been very well trained and will be a worthy addition to any neurosurgical team. We wish him and his beautiful family the best of Aussie luck.
Dr Tyler Auschwitz
Dr Samy El Hammady
Link to website
Samy wants to be and will likely succeed in being, the best neurosurgeon in the world! I have never seen anyone as driven and ambitious as Samy. There was not a day in the 6 months that he was here where he did not give himself a challenge and pursue it relentlessly. If I ever raised an issue or clinical fact that was previously unknown to him, he would trawl through the neurosurgical literature researching every aspect so that he would be totally familiar with the latest information. God forbid if I ever gave him any misinformation! He was not backward in coming forward, and would quickly correct me and before I knew it, I became the pupil and he the teacher! That was probably the most appealing facet of his personality….Samy is a no bullshit kind of guy…..what you see is what you get. We found his honesty, spirituality, commitment to excellence and generosity of spirit without equal. His technical skill in the operating room is second to none and only equalled by his clinical care.
As with many of my previous fellows, as the 6 months drew to a close, I wasn’t sure if I had taught the fellow any more than he had taught me. We will miss Samy terribly and wish him the best of luck with his career and family
Dr Brian Dlouhy
Brian Dlouhy came to us from Iowa City, USA. You will recall that Brian was mentored by one of our previous fellows, Jeremy Greenlee, who was an exceptional neurosurgeon. They say that the best compliment that you can give to someone is imitation. Brian was almost an exact clone of Jeremy. Brian was quiet but when he spoke people would listen. He ran a very tight ship and when he had a clinical dilemma you knew that the problem was serious. Brian didn’t talk the talk….he walked the walk! Throughout the entire 6 months my practice ran so smoothly I thought that I had reached a new level of clinical excellence. I have since discovered that it wasn’t my surgical skills as much as Brian’s diligence and ability to handle any complication or communication issue.
Despite being a hot-blooded, single, handsome (…I am told), young American surgeon, he cast aside his carnal desires for patient responsibilities, often spending entire weekends in the office, reviewing scans from across the globe.
At the end of his fellowship, Brian’s parents came to visit and I had the good fortune of spending time with them over Christmas dinner. It was very obvious where Brian had learnt his life skills of conscientiousness, responsibility, moral integrity and humility. At the risk of offending my good friend, Jeremy, there is another saying that applies to Brian…..the sign of a great teacher is when his pupil outshines him….sorry Jeremy, but you are obviously a great teacher! We wish Brian the best of luck in his new position as a fellow in Pediatric Neurosurgery…our loss is their gain.