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Caroline Hayhurst joined us from Toronto, Canada, where she had just completed a 12 month fellowship in Skull Base Surgery under the guidance of Fred Gentili. Previous to that she had been extremely well trained under the mentorship of Conor Mallucci. She was only the second female fellow to pass through the Centre and maintained the high standard set by Dr Darbar, who is currently forging a brilliant career in St. Louis, Missouri. There is no doubt that Caroline will establish the same admirable reputation in the United Kingdom. While she was with us it became clear she was confident but not arrogant, quiet but not backward in coming forward and knowledgeable but not a know-it-all. The single most frequently voiced comment made about her since she departed refers to “…her amazing knowledge of the neurosurgical literature”. We will miss her passion, her measured and accurate suggestions in the operating room, her diligence and her clinical excellence. I am not sure she will find the surf as attractive in Cardiff, but they are certainly the better off for having her in their health system. We wish her the best of British luck!
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.