Peter was fully awake during his lifesaving brain operation
Brain tumour patient Peter Furey was awake and fully conscious when an expert surgical team at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital removed part of his skull and began surgery to save his life.
The surgery, an awake craniotomy, is a highly specialised procedure and the neurosurgical team carry out only ten of these operations a year.
Operating in the area of the brain where Peter’s tumour is situated is complex and extremely risky. Removing too much of the tumour can result in paralysis – not removing enough could render the surgery far less effective.
Neurosurgical consultant Roddy O’Kane has explained to Peter that the tumour is continuing to get bigger and that the epileptic seizures he suffers are already becoming more frequent and more debilitating.
If left untreated his seizures would continue to get worse and his health deteriorate. He also explained that whilst he could undertake surgery to remove the tumour it was not without huge risks including brain damage and permanent paralysis.
As the day of Peter’s surgery approached he had formed a bond with Roddy and they shared an easy rapport and a bit of good natured banter. Peter bravely said to Roddy “In Rod I trust”!
Peter says: “He tells you it straight and doesn’t camouflage anything. I knew exactly what I was getting myself in for.”
Peter would be fully awake when the surgery was performed. Speech and language therapist Jennifer Bowers talked to him throughout surgery - asking him to speak to her and move his facial muscles and also to squeeze her hand ensure the surgeons cuts were not causing unintended consequences.
During surgery Peter suddenly suffered an epileptic fit. This was a time for swift action and cool heads. Roddy and the theatre team knew exactly what they had to do.
They gently poured ice cold water over Peter’s brain to enable Peter to come out of his fit and so Roddy could continue with the tumour surgery.
Peter’s story was one of a number of patient stories captured in the highly successful BBC Scotland’s “Superhospital” documentary series which highlighted some of the tremendous work delivered by our dedicated clinical teams and the support staff at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital … and for Peter the procedure was a success. Roddy was able to remove the tumour with no brain damage.
Peter is home now but the words ‘In Rod I Trust’ remain with him as he recovers at home.