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It is with much sadness that we farewell Lola and her “extended family”. It would be so wrong not to include her beautiful daughter, Harper, and her dedicated nanny, Kate, when reflecting on the last 6 months. Lola came to us from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, one of the most prestigious neurosurgical departments in the USA. So respected by her colleagues at the end of her residency Lola was offered a position back at Vanderbilt as an Assistant Professor. She started in that role 2 days after leaving Sydney! Lola gave new meaning to the title “Wonder Woman”. Not only did she fulfil her clinical duties with absolute dedication and precision, she also managed to be a loving and nurturing mother to Harper, who was only 4 months old when they arrived in Sydney. Lola is an excellent surgeon, a compassionate caregiver, a quick learner and, most impressively, an awesome Karaoke performer. Finally, I wanted to thank Sid, her devoted husband, for allowing us to have Lola and Harper for 6 months. We often forget the sacrifices that are made when fellows come across the oceans from faraway lands….not only by the fellows but also by their families. It is with much sadness that we say goodbye to the Chambless family and wish them the best of luck in Nashville.
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.