A group of surgeons at King’s College Hospital in London weren’t “fiddling” around when they recently removed a brain tumor from a violin-playing patient. The AP reports that Dagmar Turner’s doctors woke her up in the middle of the procedure and asked her to play her instrument right there on the operating table so they could make sure they didn’t damage parts of her brain necessary for making music. “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,” neurosurgeon Keyoumars Ashkan explains. “We managed to remove over 90 percent of the tumor, including all the areas suspicious of aggressive activity, while retaining full function in her left hand.”
Meanwhile, the 53-year-old Turner says, “The thought of losing my ability to play was heartbreaking…The team at King’s went out of their way to plan the operation–from mapping my brain to planning the position I needed to be in to play.” Turner is a violinist with the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra and hopes to return to the group soon.