The English Surgeon

Geoffrey Smith

What is it like to have God like healing powers, yet to struggle against your own humanity? What would it be like to try and save someone’s life, yet be unsuccessful?

The English Surgeon follows brain surgeon, Dr. Henry Marsh, as he tackles the difficult doctor-patient relationship during his latest trip to Ukraine.

Though Dr. Marsh is one of London’s leading brain surgeons and a pioneer in his field, he still rides to work each day on his old push-bike and stresses about the possibility of something going wrong for one of his patients.

“When push comes to shove, we can afford to lose an arm or a leg, but I am operating on people’s thoughts and feelings…and if something goes wrong I can destroy that person’s character ……forever”.

Motivated to help people, he has been visiting Kyiv for more than a decade trying to improve the low standard of brain surgery he has witnesses after first visiting back in 1992.

Today, many of his patients see him as a saviour from the West, and despairing parents want him to save their child. His Ukrainian colleague Igor Kurilets sees him as a guru and a benefactor. But even though he enjoys helping patients, he witnesses misdiagnosed patients, children who cannot be saved and under-trained staff and limited surgical equipment/

“It’s like selling your soul to the devil, but what can you do? My son had a brain tumor as a baby, and I was desperate for someone to help me. I simply can’t walk away from that need in others”.

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