For major surgeries like those done on the brain, you would assume that patients would be put to sleep first. However, that is not necessarily the case and over in London, a patient by the name of Dagma Turner was actually kept awake while her brain was being operated on, and to top it off, she was even playing the violin during the procedure.
Turner had been diagnosed with a slow-growing tumor back in 2013, but recently, doctors found that it was getting more aggressive and that it was probably a good idea to remove it. So why did they wake Turner up mid-operation, and why did they ask her to play the violin? According to Keyoumars Ashkan, a neurosurgeon at King’s College Hospital, this is because they wanted to know in real-time if what they were doing affected the part of the brain necessary for hand movements and coordination.
Ashkan was quoted as saying, “We knew how important the violin is to Dagmar, so it was vital that we preserved function in the delicate areas of her brain that allowed her to play.” Turner adds, “The violin is my passion; I’ve been playing since I was 10 years old. The thought of losing my ability to play was heart-breaking but, being a musician himself, Prof. Ashkan understood my concerns.”
It should be noted that this is not the first time something like this has happened. Previously, a music teacher was also kept awake and played the saxophone as doctors removed a tumor from his brain.