Dr. Cargill Alleyne

Neurosurgeon

You’re going to work hard whatever you do, so work hard doing something you love,” says Dr. Cargill Alleyne, director of the neurosurgery residency program at Georgia Health Sciences University, among other professional appointments. Research, instruction, publishing, inventing and clinical practice stimulate, invigorate and energize him. “When you’re in the operating room, you’re dedicating all your energies, all your senses, to one specific problem and time flies,” he says. That experience of flow along with the element of human interaction drew him to medicine and specifically to neurosurgery.

His unique ability to be in the moment, tending to each patient one-on-one and, at the same time, to consider the bigger picture and how he can contribute to it distinguishes his approach to medicine. The model for his own career and his message to the neurosurgeons he teaches is this: Perform one surgery and change a single life. Teach another person to perform that surgery, change several lives. Conduct research and publish results and broaden the scope of impact by reaching practitioners around the world. Improve a current procedure or implement a new treatment paradigm and influence the healing of future generations of patients. Every element of this model supports a philosophy of providing the best care possible at the personal level and ensuring that every person receives the best care possible.

The brain is the last frontier, rife with the potential for specialties and sub-specialties. Despite technological advances made since Dr. Harvey Cushing (1869-1939), the undisputed Father of Neurosurgery, pioneered effective operations, the organ of the brain still holds many mysteries. Young residents, believes Dr. Alleyne, have the advantage of flexible thinking and, thus, possess the power to not just practice neurosurgery competently, but to improve it.

Interestingly, Dr. Alleyne has combined his love of Hollywood productions, his interest in medical history and his professional training in neurosurgery to write a screenplay, Hands of Gold, Feet of Clay–The Harvey Cushing Story, which won 13th place at the 2006 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards. Though he very humbly says, “It was something to do,” the project required extensive reading and research and took a year to complete. A collection of coincidences suggests that perhaps it was more than something to do; it was something he was meant to do. For example, Cushing, incidentally, had a brother named Alleyne. Cushing and Dr. Alleyne both attended Yale. And the Cushing Tumor Registry, a collection of glass jars containing brain tissues from Cushing’s many surgeries, was stored in the basement of the building in which Dr. Alleyne lived during medical school at Yale.

Neurosurgeons dedicate six to seven years beyond medical school to honing their craft. They perfect technically precise procedures. Many lose themselves in their careers. Cushing performed more than 2,000 brain surgeries and recorded volumes of detailed notes and illustrations, advancing successful treatment methods but spending little time with his wife and five children. Dr. Alleyne shares Cushing’s commitment. Yet, he also values building a strong family with his wife Audrey and their children, Nicole, 10, and Nathan, 12. Working hard at what he loves energizes him for the ones he loves.

Read more at Augusta Magazine

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