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Brain surgeon’s skill under TV microscope
Paediatric neuro-surgeon Jay Jayamohan and neurosurgical senior registrar Andy Manning performing an operation at the John Radcliffe Hospital
THE life-saving skills of child brain surgeon Jay Jayamohan are highlighted in a new TV series filmed at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.
Camera crews from Landmark Films were given remarkable access over nine months last year to the neurosurgeons at the hospital and shared their daily highs and lows.
The first programme in the three-part series Brain Doctors, was shown last night on BBC2 at 9pm, and the next two hour-long programmes go out at the same for the next two weeks.
Cameras follow paediatric and adult surgeons as they carry out high-risk operations, including removing brain tumours, correcting brain abnormalities and saving the lives of trauma victims.
Father-of-three Mr Jayamohan, a paediatric neuro- surgeon who lives near Thame, is featuring in his second TV series after Landmark Films recorded programmes about the hospital’s cranio- facial unit two years ago.
He said: “There are risks with any of these operations and people understand that there are completely un- predictable and disastrous things that can happen.
“It can be terrible for them, and hard for us.
“You do get upset and distressed if something goes wrong that you have not been able to predict, but you do that in a private way because the distress is much greater for the families.
“You have to be detached when you are doing an operation but you also have to be able to support patients.
“We always talk to patients beforehand so that they understand the risks.”
Mr Jayamohan, 42, trained in London and Glasgow and has worked at the John Radcliffe for nine years.
He praised the camera crew for blending into the background and “being brilliant” at knowing when to step back.
“They don’t interfere because I am concentrating on my patients and the parents don’t notice because they are trying to find out what is wrong with their child,” he added. “The camera crew was beyond professional and I came to think of them as friends.”
The surgeon said staff were happy to take part in the documentary to help educate the public.
He added: “After watching the programmes people might have a bit more empathy for people who have neurological disabilities with their brain or spinal cord. There is investment in brain tumour research but we have not yet made the same strides in treating brain tumours that we have with other cancers.”
One programme features two-year-old Rajvir who has a brain tumour which, untreated, will kill him within months.
In episode three, mum Adele is told that her three-year-old daughter Cerys has a malignant brain tumour. She tells the cameras: “I am powerless as a mother for the first time in my life – I can’t do anything, it’s all in the doctor’s hands.”
Mr Jayamohan said yesterday: “Cerys’s treatment is still ongoing and she is doing well.”