In keeping with my love of nature and unique geographical places, I jump at any opportunity to teach, operate or visit South Africa. The level of neurosurgical care is excellent and some of the most innovative surgeons in history have originated from here….think Christian Barnard and Warwick Peacock. On one of my previous visits to Johannesburg to perform pro bono surgery I came across a young neurosurgeon who impressed me dramatically. He was head of his department in one of the largest public hospitals in one of the poorer sections of the city. He clearly wasn’t in it for the money and he and his beautiful wife, a plastic surgeon in the same institution, worked tirelessly to improve the care to impoverished patients. He was courageous enough to perform keyhole operations that he had learnt by reading my book, Principles and Practice of Keyhole Brain Surgery, without ever seeing it performed by someone else. His results were amazing. I wanted this person as my fellow. Thankfully, he agreed and the rest is history. Chris is a technically gifted surgeon. He has courage, dexterity, good clinical acumen, comprehensive knowledge of the literature and a caring nature. He taught us as much as we taught him and his enthusiastic personality was contagious. He will be a shining light in the field of innovative neurosurgery in his country and I am confident he will make a positive contribution to the overall welfare of both the privileged and impoverished people of South Africa. We wish him, his talented and beautiful wife, Bella, and their young family, the best of luck.
Tyler was the first resident to train at and complete his residency at the Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Institute in Charlotte, NC. This is one of the largest private practice groups in the world and has an excellent reputation for hands-on training from some of the best neurosurgeons in the USA….think Tony Asher, Hunter Dyer, Tim Adamson and Scott Wait. As Visiting Professor there a few years back, I was observing Scott Wait, my previous fellow, performing a difficult case through an eyebrow approach. His assistant was Tyler. I was equally impressed with Tyler as I was with Scott, who I have described previously as the best technical surgeon I have ever trained. When Tyler applied for my fellowship I seriously thought that I would reject him simply because there was nothing that I could teach him that Scott hadn’t already.
He persisted and I am so thankful that he did. Tyler has been with us for 3 months and has already earnt himself several “superlatives”…..indeed, he may be the best “second generation” fellow that I have ever trained. Welcome Tyler and your beautiful family. Let’s hope that the Covid 19 pandemic prohibits you from returning to the US….just kidding!!