Brain Doctors (3 x 60′) – This documentary series features surgeons working at the very frontiers of their medical expertise and knowledge; their work is high-risk, extremely skilled and breathtakingly complex.
Filmed over nine months the series had remarkable access to the work of the neurosurgeons at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, sharing the daily highs and lows – and to their patients whose lives depend on their skill.
Mum Adele hears the devastating news that her three-year-old daughter Cerys has a malignant brain cancer: “My whole world came to a standstill, everything stopped. I am powerless as a mother for the first time in my life. I can’t do anything. It’s all in the doctors’ hands.”
Cameras follow both paediatric and adult surgeons in John Radcliffe Hospital’s Neurosurgery Department as they carry out high-risk operations on the body’s most complex, delicate and important organ, removing brain tumours, correcting brain abnormalities and saving the lives of trauma victims.
Some of the patients and families are what Paediatric Neurosurgeon Jay Jayamohan calls ‘frequent flyers’ – children with complex conditions who require a lifetime of surgery. The films highlight the strong bonds of trust and commitment that build over the years between families and their surgeons.
Some patients arrive in the Neurosurgery Department shell-shocked: a routine visit to the optician or GP has triggered a process which ends with major brain surgery to remove a life-threatening tumour.
The parents of two-year-old Rajvir face an unimaginable dilemma: Raj has a brain tumour which, untreated, will kill him within months. The surgeons can operate but the procedure carries a high risk of paralysis.
Tracey, a midwife and mum to two sons, lies in a coma with massive head injuries suffered in a car crash. Her husband John escaped relatively unscathed and sits constantly by her bed, willing her to open her eyes.
Producer: Landmark Films
TX: February 2013
Source: BBC press release