What does one say about a colourful person who is larger-than-life and whose personality is so loud, that it silences all those around? If you know or have met Vijay, you know exactly what I mean. Vijay came to us from the auspicious halls of Duke University, arguably the best brain cancer centre in the world. We were told that he was a good resident, an innovative thinker with several patents to his name, and a hard working resident. We were not told that he was once a stand-up comedian, who has a wit that is sharper than a box-cutter and quicker than a rattle-snake. We were not told that he has self-confidence that makes confidant people like me look like church mice.
Vijay WAS a good resident and he WAS an innovative thinker and he did a superb job with his patient care. But more than that, he entertained us, amused us, and taught us some valuable lessons in life…..all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!
I will miss him very much, but I know that he will continue to bring joy and warmth to all those lucky enough to work with him.
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.