It has always amazed me how different each fellow has been. They have all excelled at various aspects of being a neurosurgeon…bedside manner, technical skill in the OR, compassion shown to families etc. Mike epitomised the dictum…knowledge is power! Mike excelled at all aspects of neurosurgery, not necessarily because he was born with inherent talents, but because if he didn’t have them, he learnt them. Mike was able to communicate with any person on any subject. He knew every surgical approach, not necessarily because he had performed them, but because he had read and memorised them. He is the consummate intellectual with the ability to disseminate his knowledge to anyone who wishes to learn no matter what their station or level of education and the ability to put into practice what he has studied. Mike endeared himself to all our staff and especially my family and their friends. He has a most engaging sense of humour, a pleasant and even temperament, a passion for neurosurgery and a considerate and kind nature. I believe, if anyone can find the cure for brain cancer, it will be Mike. We wish him the best of luck in his new position as Head of the Brain Cancer Center in Oklahoma City.
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.