The English Surgeon

The English SurgeonHenry Thomas Marsh, (born 1950) is a leading British neurosurgeon, and a pioneer of neurosurgical advances in Ukraine.

Marsh originally read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford, achieving First Class Honours, before graduating with Honours in Medicine from London University. He is now the senior consultant neurosurgeon at the Atkinson Morley Wing at St George's Hospital, one of the country's largest specialist brain surgery units.

He specialises in operating on the brain under local anaesthetic and was the subject of a major BBC documentary Your Life in Their Hands in 2004, which won the Royal Television Society Gold Medal. He has been working with neurosurgeons in the former Soviet Union, mainly in Ukraine, since 1992 and his work there was the subject of the recent award-winning BBC Storyville film The English Surgeon. Marsh was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.

What is it like to have God like surgical powers, yet to struggle against your own humanity? What is it like to try and save a life, and yet to fail? This film follows brain surgeon Henry Marsh as he openly confronts the dilemmas of the doctor patient relationship on his latest mission to Ukraine.

Driven by the need to help others where he can, Henry has been going out to Kyiv for over 15 years to help improve upon the medieval brain surgery he witnessed there during his first visit in 1992. Today the patients see him as the great saviour from the West, desperate parents want him to save their child, and his Ukrainian colleague Igor Kurilets sees him as a guru and a benefactor.

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Ratings: 8.41/10 from 32 users.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • Placeboaddict

    Heartwarming story. Fascination individual(s) facing impossible adversities.

    It's sad to behold how the former Soviet countries are left behind, after a economical collapse brought on by a war of nothing.

    And medical instruments = racket... what a dirty business.

  • leonardobdas

    i think this is a must watch. wow.

  • Domus Canus.

    In the medical world it's not often you see surgeons as finely tuned as these 2 men offering their vast knowledge and experience in the pursuit of extending life to people who are without hope. Under primitive circumstances they operate on their patients with ancient technology, Henry drags used throw-away parts from the UK as Igor battles his enemies and the bureaucracy at large in a country where life seems rather worthless. There is no good way to give bad news to patients, inevitably it's a death sentence as we witnessed several times during this documentary. I must confess to chuckling as I watched out 2 heroes rooting around in an outdoor market for drill bits and so forth, and the battery almost giving up the ghost in what passed for an operating theater. Beautifully done, Henry and Igor. One day Igor, I wish a hospital for you. Best wishes.

  • rtiom

    I had to stop watching this. I cannot handle watching those poor people in Russia. The country and its leaders have sold out. They disgust me, and what they are doing to the Russian people is unbelievable. It's so corrupt through and through, that almost one out of 3 people is willing to forget his or her morals for money.

  • Ninnaninna

    To me this is everything documentary film should be about.

  • ewaa

    It's in the Ukraine, not Russia...
    and really, get yourself together: more than half of the world looks like this or worse. I've been to the Ukraine and born in communist Poland, even after the 'capitalist democracy' enters, not much changes in the healthcare system and people die misdiagnosed, untreated or mistreated (as happened to my grandfather) every day. Life is brutal!

  • PavolvsBitch

    Shame Atkinson Morley can't manage the other end of the business of primary patient care; basic toileting. Neither can they manage to identify the source of painful bowel movements (if patients can move in order to move their bowels at all) as hemmorhoids requiring a painless ten minute procedure to alleviate. Patients are radiated, radiated and then radiated some more. They are kept in unsunlit blueish wards, have no fresh air or outside variation. This guy's a typical klutz, getting off on the kudos of 'brain surgery' at the expense of the whole patient. Get real; he wouldn't have been awarded Jack S*** if he'd done any real good for humanity. Psychodriller. This type of torture used to cause outrage which is why mental institutions were closed; nowadays, oh, these maniacs are lauded as heroes. Sad times indeed.

  • PavolvsBitch

    The methods of brain surgery are as crude as they ever were; mind surgery is more subtle; opinion surgery, subtler still, eh moderators?

  • http://www.facebook.com/vitanovich Petar Vitanovich

    Anyone one who talks s*** about this man is insane. Just look at the faces of the people he is trying to save, plus last time i checked he isn't charging for his service. Yes, people have a point when they say it's like he is playng "god" but they don't understand thats the nature of medicine, every doctor plays god, when he attempts to heal you, or tell you how much longer you have to live. Grow up people, and give credit where its due.

  • kris sto

    ''If we don't try to help others, we are nothing, nothing at all''....Heartbreaking stories......

  • Morsie

    What a wonderful yet, at times, a distressing documentary. I pray that one day Igor will have his hospital built and have the finest surgeons performing life saving procedures. That doco will stay with me for a very long time. Thank you Vlatko.

  • StevenLJones

    Vlatko I hope you find more documentaries like this. This has heart. It isn't simply a dissecting of fact. It hits at the root of our humanity.

  • PavolvsBitch

    That is precisely the response psychopolitical operators use against those who can see through the ruse of brain surgery and electric shocks, trauma based hypnotic inplants. Yes Vitanovich, this film portrays the 'kindly benovolence' of a self-sacraficing psychopath but it is only psychopolitica PROPAGANDA. Beneath this are millions of horror-humans destroyed by your communistic methods of control and command. Doctors are under the complete control of psychopolitics as are politicians, military, educators. You can't see it or else it wouldn't work. Read the works we know all too well the 'nature of medicine' and the nature of communism.

  • PavolvsBitch

    And by the way, if this guy's so very bloody compassionate (not) or skilful (not) he would ensure that his patients are not left in agony for want of basic toileting, OK?

  • PavolvsBitch

    Those poor people in Russia have been at the mercy of psychodrilling torture techniques since Pavlov and you are witnessing some of the results. They don't need to bore holes into the Russians' brains anymore; they're completely obedient. As you say, it's so corrupt that the hypnotic commands under torture have ensured that a growing number of people will over-ride their morals for money. Mission accomplished and exported across the world.

    Read Psychopolitics by Alexi Drobychev. You people are woefully duped as I appear to be the only voice of sane dissent.

  • PavolvsBitch

    Psychopolitics; Jewish-Communist Brainwashing Techniques, A Synthesis on the Jewish-Communist Textsbook on Psychopolitics. A New Transcription of Kenneth Goff's classic by Alexi Drobychev. Read it.

    Now this is all taken from the serpent's mouth, so to speak and cannot be refuted. Brain surgery and electroshock are not used for the purposes of healing as they cannot heal but are used as a severe punishment in order to induce total obedience. The more brutality, the more obedience is instilled. Only psychopaths could devise the annihilation of free will for the purposes of totalitarian obedience; only those victims of these methods could over-ride their humanity in carrying out these commands on others.

    Read Russian Communist history, Chinese Communist history, North Korean Communist history ANY Communist history to see who the communists are and how we are immersed in their insanity. And, by the way, the term paranoid insanity is to be applied by the psychopolitical operators and their dupes to anyone saying this or implying it. I'm just paraphrasing their own words.

    This film is simply a classic snow job to cover the tracks as to motivation, intention and purpose; look at the lunatic and hear clearly what he says; just knockabout woodwork (we're inanimate objects) just making a packing case (more like a 'head-case') meaning re-modelling, re-moulding, re-shaping the human experience, reducing it to robotic slave.

  • SFXkilla

    Wow you really went all out

  • Mike H

    In Soviet Russia, Surgeon brains you!

  • Lazzie2

    why are you such a dickhead.

  • PavlovsBitch

    oh, that was a year ago ... i've had the psychosurgery now and duh, what was the question?

  • http://www.facebook.com/precious007 Alexandru Matei

    it's in the genes more likely :)

  • Stu Mair

    I am living proof that you are incorrect. At the age of two and a half, I underwent brain surgery after a tragic accident. I was in no way being punished and am certainly not a robotic slave. Brain surgery is a medical procedure that saved my life after receiving blunt trauma to the head. I am no robotic slave.

  • Stu Mair

    Your "crude" methods of brain surgery were advanced enough to save my life after hitting tile headfirst at three years old.

  • PavolvsBitch

    Not my crude methods. And good for you. This does not detract from the overall barbarity of what has been done to tens of millions of others in the name of research, leaving them vegetative wrecks.