Friday, September 11, 2009

The English Surgeon

I saw this documentary on PBS this past Tuesday night. It's pretty incredible.

It's about Dr.Henry Marsh- one of England's foremost brain surgeons who for the past 15 years has been traveling to the Ukraine, donating his time and services in an attempt to treat patients who have been left to die with brain tumors that have been deemed inoperable. The film is directed by Geoffrey Smith, recently interviewed here by Los Angeles' own Elvis Mitchell on KCRW.
Not for the faint of heart, or stomach (there are some pretty intense scenes in surgery-which I loved- but are not for everybody) but the film is so worth it for it's message:

"Henry's dilemma is one of his own making; that is what's so interesting about his story," says director Smith. "It's what lets his troubled and compassionate humanity through, and moves him to continue an often painful struggle to do good things in this selfish and flawed world. This is ultimately not a medical film, nor is it a portrait of a saint. Rather, it is about a man who openly wrestles with moral and ethical issues that touch every one of us."

Dr. Marsh says at the end of the film: (I'm paraphrasing here) "What are we if we don't help others? Nothing. Nothing at all."

I've been grappling with my role in the medical profession lately, and this film helped me put some things into perspective.

Also, IF I get my ERMIE clothing line up and running this fall, like my friends Natsumi and Janis before me, I'd like to donate 10% of my shop profits to charity. I was thinking of a food bank here in Los Angeles, and/ or donating to RAM (an organization that recently provided over 6,000 people in L.A. with free medical care).

Through now until 10/9/09 you can view the film online.

Photo courtesy of P.B.S.


janis said...

Yes, the documentary was wonderful and so was the interview on our local public radio station KQED.

You must had a unique view of this documentary...what a gift to be able to help people, though it seems like it would require a special toughness to deal with the emotional stress... I can't even imagine.

Great things you're doing and out of the hospital. xo, j.

Ritva said...

i totally agree with janis.
proud to be your friend.

janis said...

I forgot to say ... Thank you xo