Jacob was the first Australian neurosurgeon to apply for and receive the Fellowship at our Centre. Given the disdain with which my fellow neurosurgeons treat me and anyone associated with me, this was an incredibly courageous and admirable step. I had the pleasure of working with Jacob several years ago when he rotated through the public hospital as a junior registrar. He impressed me then. I had briefly contemplated seducing him back to the Centre one day in the hope that he may wish to specialise in brain tumours. Over the last 6 months he did not disappoint us. Jacob is an exceptional human being. He has warmth and compassion, immeasurable professionalism, a great depth of knowledge, surgical courage and dexterity and superb communication skills…… and a wicked sense of humour! He became an immediate team member and was liked by all with whom he made contact. Jacob will be furthering his training in Canada in the field of neurovascular surgery with the plan of becoming both a brain tumour and a vascular neurosurgeon. I couldn’t think of a more worthy colleague in whom I would place the care of my patients and hope that he will consider returning to our Centre in 2012. We wish him and his wonderful family the best of luck in Toronto.
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.