Talking (hilariously) through brain surgery

September 2, 2011

The amazing and amusing George Malich is at it again.

In the little more than one month since his brain tumor diagnosis, Malich, a St. Louis improvisational actor and comedian, has produced a series of short films based on his experiences called “Life is Meant for Living.”

The latest film, “Day 8: Awake Surgery,” is his take on the surgery he had here at Barnes-Jewish Hospital to remove as much of the tumor surgically as possible.

Although Malich’s version of the surgery is … well, let’s just call it an artistic interpretation of  actual events…he was, indeed, awake and talking throughout surgery to remove the tumor.

This technique is used by neurosurgeons when specific types of tumors are in sensitive areas of the brain. The patient is asked to answer questions and perform mental tasks to make sure brain tissue isn’t damaged as the tumor is removed.

At Barnes-Jewish, the surgery takes place in an intraoperative MRI suite, where the surgeons also use MRI images taken during the surgery to insure that as much tumor is removed as precisely as possible.

While I loved the latest Malich opus, I’m pretty sure that’s not really the Barnes-Jewish intraoperative MRI suite.

And those surgeons? Below are photos of Dr. Ralph Dacey, Washington University chief of neurosurgery, and Washington University neurosurgeon Dr. Eric Leuthardt, who actually performed the surgery. Are they doing the surgery in the film? Watch it and judge for yourself….

-Kathy Holleman

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Category: Neurology & Neurosurgery, Patient Stories, Siteman Cancer Center

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  1. OK… I’ll level with you. The “Day 8: Awake Surgery” comedy sketch was filmed on location, at what will forever be known only as “Unnamed Offshore Hospital”. My two very talented acting colleagues, Dr. Peter Holtz and John Eiler are in no way, shape, or form to be confused with my Real Life Superheroes, Dr. Ralph Dacey Jr. and Dr. Eric Leuthardt, of the Washington University School of Advanced Medicine at Barnes Jewish Hospital. And lastly, I think there was a hotdog stuck on the surgical apparatus used in the comedy sketch. Now as for as whether or not “my people” introduced whistling in Eastern Europe… well… we’ll just have to let history determine that one.

    Much love,
    George Malich
    http://www.youtube.com/user/LifeIsMeantForLiving
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Life-Is-Meant-For-Living/209449269109693

  2. Marcia Wilderman says:

    OMG……..that is hilarious. You are a nut. I watched it before I read the top, and I thought it was real. I was thinking, “Wow….that it really amazing!” And…….”Gee…that doctor is kind of cold.”
    Good job, George.

    Much love,
    Marcia

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