Life as a Neurosurgeon

The journey of becoming a neurosurgeon is a long and arduous one. It is a road filled with hard work and sacrifice that ultimately transforms a school kid into a neurosurgeon! Decades ago, not until late into medical school would one develop a liking for the subject. But usually the field is discouraged, as it is tough with its long hours of surgery, serious and critically ill patients and their often, poor outcomes. But times have changed. Neurosurgery today is a lot safer and predictable. It is strange’, but thanks to the movie world and TV serials, a lot more kids today know what a Neurosurgeon is.

The late Prof B. Ramamurthi, the doyen of Indian Neurosurgery once said these words at the time when I joined the course of Neurosurgery in 2002: ‘Being a doctor is what I would teach you. Learning Neurosurgery is a lifetime’s journey. I would guide you towards it’.

I couldn’t fully comprehend it at that time, as I already was a doctor by then with my MBBS degree. As l journeyed along the path of Neurosurgery, I started realizing the meaning of his statement to be very apt with profound meaning. To be a DOCTOR is more important than being a professional Neurosurgeon. I appreciate the fact that this trait is the one that decides the success of one’s career, and this Success has no universal yardstick. Though it is very subjective and personal. For some, Success can be as simple as earning Name, Money and Fame, honestly it is something beyond all that. The larger picture is about scaling new heights in this great and divine field. Many consider operating in difficult and challenging scenarios is success, Others consider operating in various different scenarios as success. Irrespective of the yardstick that one applies to measure Success, I realized, that being a good DOCTOR with empathy, humility and the appropriate skills set is what a patient and relative would like to see, witness and experience.

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Neurosurgery is a vast Infinite ocean with a wide spectrum of work that can give a sweeping array of Challenging scenarios with patients to a surgeon! Boredom due to monotony is never an issue with this profession. This begins with the Brain, which in itself is so challenging that it is an unchartered sea! The spectrum includes the Spinal cord and Spine, The head and neck junction with the skull base adjoining the face, and all the nerves, literally covering the entire topography of the human body. Across all the age groups – from just born babies to the age of 94 that I have operated, and all aetiologies – such as congenital and developmental issues, trauma and head injury, tumour’s, infections, vascular and functional disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, the scope of the subject is so far-flung as to be almost boundless. Mastering it is truly a lifetime journey. The true words of my teacher!

As a subject, Neurosurgery teaches humility. Every Brain is different with different functional potentials. What Neuroscientists have decoded is less than 20% of our Brain. No Neurosurgeon can promise 100% results. As a matter of fact, No Doctor can promise that. When to operate and when to stop (in a surgery) , are two important lessons that experience alone teaches. Being honest is universally liked and being realistic is appreciated the most. The ultimate gratification and measure of success is to see the once comatose or paralyzed patient walking up to you and sharing his day’s experience at his work!

 

Stressful work hours are inevitable due to the nature of the profession and existing life style. But a good work life balance is as essential as being good at work for sustainability. Ultimately, the efficiency and longevity of ones professional life is decided by this very balancing act in life. My stress busters apart from my family and friends are Astrophotography, travel and biking! Looking up into sky, the visual treat from the heavens is unparalleled.

The heavenly bodies have fascinated great scientists throughout history. It teaches us the concept of Time & speed, while allowing us to introspect. It reminds us about how insignificant we are in the great cosmos. The earth is miniscule in the cosmic dimension. Isn’t it a ridicule that we humans consider ourselves so important? From the depths of operating Microscope to the reach of Celestial Telescope, the scale of insight is infinite, often bringing out a philosopher from within. Travel teaches newness and invents greater realisation in oneself. It teaches us the beauty of various cultures, traditions and colours of nature. It makes one realize that borders and boundaries are a limitation placed on the mind. On the other side, biking on an Adventure bike gives pure Adrenaline rush. The beauty of these passions is that all of these can be combined, as a holiday, giving one, much needed relief and recharging of energy.

To the kids out there wondering whether to take up Neurosurgery or not, I do have a message: ‘It is a divine field, filled with many challenges and gratification, a life filled with adrenaline rush amidst a deep meditative concentration and focus, that long hours bring (while in a surgery)’. It is thus a rare and contrasting combination.

61 thoughts on “Life as a Neurosurgeon

  1. Thulsi Yadav

    Hi Chief!
    Your blog just popped up and was eager to read, It was a good blog to read to end the day!
    I strongly believe that your blog helps and encourages future neurosurgeons! It is evident that you are enjoying your profession as you are a passionate neuroscientist.
    Your hobbies are the best to unwind from the daily mundane and stress at work.
    Kudos to the great job! Keep it going! Happy for you😊

    Like

      1. Dr rajashekhar muchchandi

        Murali really your each word is passionating. I always keep surgeons in top of our medical field like soldiers in the battle field. That to neurosurgery so tough. It is life time new challenges in surgery post operative complications dealing this and doing your passion in photography, biking, travelling, really hats off to you and your zeal. And inspiration for budding doctors how to balance work and pleasure. Feeling happy to be your friend.

        Like

      1. Shru

        I feel really honored to have met you and worked with you. Such a motivating blog, I am sure youngsters reading this would be inspired to take up Neurosurgery. And what better way to unwind than travel and explore places. Next bike ride I would love to tag along 😜
        But jokes apart people keep saying we are so busy we don’t have time but your journey clearly shows how one can have work life balance..

        Thank you for sharing tour journey with us.

        Like

    1. Anonymous

      Nice write up Murali
      It’s really encouraging to the upcoming Doctors , Neurosurgens in particular,

      Keep doing the good work
      All the best 👍🏻

      Like

  2. Dr.mallikarjun

    Amazing and not only a great neurosurgeon simple human being who has understood the complexes of life in different dimensions.As he is simplifying and more apt to his profession he is achieving milestones effortlessly .Hats off to his dedication and passion to do something new and innovative things. I think human philosophy and bonding of human with almighty is touching him closely with all his sensual aspects.A true achiever may god bless and expects more services in all perspective to humanity .Thank you from bottom of my heart.

    Like

  3. Kranthi M

    Wonderful Doctor, very proud to be associated to you. Very very motivating for those who are in the verge of deciding whether to or not take neurosurgery.
    Excellent heads-up and inspiring.
    All the best. Keep writing about your journey as neurosurgeon

    Like

      1. Drshivakumar

        It is important for every doctor to realise journey he has travelled.cherishing those moments gives immense satisfaction.it may also guide junior folk who wants to persue same path
        you have put your journey in the right perseptive for yourself and others
        Everybody needs hard work perseverance and guidance to make doctors life enjoyable
        Let God help everybody to achieve the same
        Good luck
        Will catch up sometime for 🥃🍽️🥂

        Like

        1. Anonymous

          Thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every line Dr.Murali. Very beautifully expressed.
          Being a Neuro anaesthesiologist I know Neuro surgeons are unique. Some are not only great surgeons but philosophers too,and you are one among them.
          Thank you for sharing.

          Like

      2. Kathyayini Shanbhag

        Thank you for sharing your blog Dr. 🙏😊beautifully written an inspiration I’m sure for the young generation at cross roads of their careers. Please keep posting its a pleasure reading your blogs.

        Like

  4. Mallikarjuna

    Well written Murali. Yes, I agree very much when it comes to empathy and humility.

    Your writing skills are getting better and more colourful overtime.

    Keep writing. Keep posting.

    Good luck.

    Regards

    Like

    1. Anonymous

      Dear Dr Murali, very well expressed experiences of a neurosurgeon. Congratulations on the blog. Continue to motivate all the generations

      Regards
      Partha Sarathi

      Like

    2. Seetharam J

      Dear Dr. Murali travelled through the article. It is good. As a non-Medical person I understood the Neuro Surgeon’s role. Balancing the patients, understanding their problem, setting right their deficiency and stand up to the satisfaction of patient and patient family is a great job. One should update their knowledge and handle the situation with utmost patience.

      Like

  5. Dr Sumathi (SNH)

    Hi sir.. Very much touched by your amazing journey of life as a neurosurgeon and morever as a very good human being in your profession which is very rare in these days. God bless you with all the success sir.

    Like

  6. karan

    Murali….truly reflecting impression and assembling thoughts is an art very few people master it and I believe you has done all in fine piece of writing. Loved it being very crisp, simple and sweet. All d very best for next musing

    Like

    1. Dr Reshma

      Well written Murali
      It’s very encouraging to the budding Doctors, Neurosurgens in specific,,

      I totally agree with the facts that empathy, humility & skills make a Doctor successful
      Keep doing the good work
      All the best 👍🏻

      Like

  7. T.V.Uma

    Precision is your hall mark, both in profession and expression. Well written , really reaching out to Commons ,inspiring young ones.
    Kudos Dr.Murali. Proud of you.T.V.

    Like

  8. S balaji

    Wonderful and interesting blog with simpler approach to reach the masses to take up your profession with zeal and also lead a balanced life with sensible value to time. Keep writing bro. God bless

    Like

    1. Dr Denzil Fernandes

      With our own nature we knowingly or unknowingly guide people to become a better humans with empathy, compassion and love. With this beautiful article a lot of minds will be opened up for the field of neuroscience. God bless you sir… U r a perfect example of dynamic, empathy, good human, kindness and a good leader.
      Cheers

      Like

  9. Ajay

    Dr Murali,

    Thanks to you. You are an amazing human being. You encouraged my father so much. He was bedridden, but he is up an walking now.

    ALSO.. YOU ARE AN AMAZING NEURO SURGEON

    AJAY SINGH

    Like

  10. Dr. Denzil Fernandes

    With our own nature we knowingly or unknowingly guide people to become a better humans with empathy, compassion and love. With this beautiful article a lot of minds will be opened up for the field of neuroscience. God bless you sir… U r a perfect example of dynamic, empathy, good human, kindness and a good leader.
    Cheers

    Like

  11. Dr Denzil Fernandes

    With our own nature we knowingly or unknowingly guide people to become a better humans with empathy, compassion and love. With this beautiful article a lot of minds will be opened up for the field of neuroscience. God bless you sir… U r a perfect example of dynamic, empathy, good human, kindness and a good leader.
    Cheers

    Like

  12. Neethu Narendran

    Doc…. Such an amazing journey , truly inspiring, and finally it’s penned down. You are a true contributor to “Being Human”. Hats off to the dedication. And priceless is your contribution. Keep inspiring!!!!. May you be successful at every endeavor. All the Very Best!

    Like

    1. Bhavana chowdary

      Thank you for sharing your blog sir..Your such a passionated doctor..I am lucky that I met you..True inspiration for younger generation…Keep writing and inspiring..Best wishes for your journey.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Dr Deepa Jayashankar

    Wow reading this blog gave me an adrenaline gush! Wonderfully written beautifully articulated, it was a pleasure!
    All the very best Muruli may the celestial bodies shower you with more & more success!!

    Like

  14. leogras

    Very well written..the nuances the journey and the highlights of a Neuro surgeon is very well brought out. My best wishes to a successful and an efficient Neuro surgeon Dr. Murli. God bless..

    Like

  15. Commodore J Suresh, Indian Navy

    Dr Murali, everytime I read your blog, the respect for you in me grows stronger in good measure. A great thought indeed and well said about being a good doctor and I feel a good doctor needs to be a good listener. With a good patient hearing the patient actually feels reassured and being honest with them is the sure shot path to earn their confidence and respect for life.
    Keep up your divine service. God be with you.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ranganath Narayan

        Murali, ur journey as neurosurgeon takes me back to medschool. Right frm dissection to internship, we hav seen how passionate u were towards this unchartered sea..Definitely u were focused & dedicated.. & the amazing fact was there was never a show of stress on ur face even during our exams or other hardships when all of us were breaking down. That was ur balancing… Truly ur write up will inspire many juniors to pursue their dreams. God bless u to continue in this journey with many more success

        Like

  16. As usual, you’ve brought out a masterpiece, Dr. Murali. Thank you for giving us a peep into the life of a busy neurosurgeon who takes up every chance to peep into our braincells! More power to you. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bhavana chowdary

      Thank you for sharing your blog sir..Your such a passionated doctor..I am lucky that I met you..True inspiration for younger generation…Keep writing and inspiring..Best wishes for your journey.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. sudha jain

    Great! life of a neurosurgeon is inspiring as he tries to solve most complex life related issues.Requires lot of hard work and dedication.But is it possible to achieve successful results of neurosurgery without efficient partnership from another equally hard-working doctor in O.T….I.e.Anaesthesiologist?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pavendan

    As usual the message hallmarks your Passion,Involvement, Dedication and Love of your PROFFESSION AND CONCERN ON PATIENT, Its a very good journey being with u lifetime… Thanks for your words Sir… TAKE CARE ….

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Ravindra Subbanna

    Dear Murali Mohan,
    Your article is very well written. It delves into and gives a peek in to the vast and the mostly unknown and I chartered world of Neurosurgery and the Neurosurgeon.
    The Passion required to delve in to the unknown. And hence the determination and perseverance required to continue getting better and excel at improving the skillset required to get good results on patients problems and recovery. To empathise with the patients condition and work upon it…
    Must be very fulfilling, Challenging and at times frustrating.
    Hats of to your breed of neurosurgeons.
    Wishing you the very best.

    Like

  20. Chaitra

    Dear Sir,
    Your words in this blog are inspirational and energy booster for all the younger generation looking out their future as a doctor. Your service and care is always successful. All the very best for your future.

    Best wishes,
    Chaitra

    Like

  21. Pragati Malligaraj

    Sir, your panoramic account of a neurosurgeon’s life brings only one word to mind..limitless!! And its no wonder you are inclined towards the hobbies that you’ve mentioned. For what is the underlying common link between the human brain, the astronomical universe, and the world of biking? NO BOUNDARIES !!
    Kudos to the amazing write up sir and my best wishes for all your future endeavors. May your success be as infinite as your aspirations!!

    Like

  22. Pragati Malligaraj

    Sir, your panoramic account of a neurosurgeon’s life brings only one word to mind..limitless!! And its no wonder you are inclined towards the hobbies that you’ve mentioned. For what is the underlying common link between the human brain, the astronomical universe, and the world of biking? NO BOUNDARIES !!
    Kudos to the amazing write up sir and my best wishes for all your future endeavors. May your success be as infinite as your aspirations!!

    Like

  23. Gaurav Sharma

    Hi Dr. Murali,

    A very balanced and simplified view on life of a Neuro Surgeon.. unwinding self in a high focus and intense job is a very critical aspect to perform in such a role.

    I’m sure your views will help aspiring Doctors to prepare for such challenging stream in future..

    Wishing you success for your future endeavours.

    Rgds,

    Like

  24. Kavitha

    Your blog is very informative and at the same time motivating and encouraging for future aspiring Neurosurgeons. It is crystal clear that you are thoroughly enjoying your profession and you are a passionate Neuroscientist. I am honored to have such intelligent and dedicated doctor I met who is also a great human . I know that you have empathy and skill in the profession, and I strongly say that you have created a niche in your own field of surgery. There is no doubt that you are a great passionate neurosurgeon in Bangalore, despite various hurdles. You struggled a lot to reach this position. Keep doing the good work and continue to motivate all young generations.
    Best wishes in all your future endeavors.

    Like

  25. Sam jayavelan

    Thanks for an insight into your brainwaves :), esp after practically seeing many of your patients. It is nice to see your side of the struggles and the core values that propels you to get up everyday to pursue a stressful profession with so much passion. Kiddos to living life with all this zeal!

    Like

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