By: Robert McCrum |
| Neuroscience | The Guardian
Henry Marsh is a celebrated neurosurgeon who travels the world teaching his exacting craft. Robert McCrum joins him in Ukraine as he tries to save the life of 11-year-old Viktoria
We joined the green-gowned brain surgery team soon after daybreak. The chill of the operating theatre was filled with the inevitable frisson of nerves before a big op. Inside the Orlika Street children’s hospital in the suburbs of Lviv, on the western edge of Ukraine, the patient was waiting for us, under halogen lights, anaesthetised upon the table.
She was corpse-like in unconsciousness. Her chilled cerise fingernails offered a poignant reminder she is a young girl. Viktoria, who is just 11, has a malignant brain tumour. The day before, in the ICU, she had been weepy, fretful and disoriented with brain sickness. She had come with her mother to this 10- storey late-Soviet paediatric facility for a high-risk, potentially life-saving operation.