30 Years Later, Reflection on Neurosurgery

In 1993, a young surgeon in Boston operated on a baby boy to repair the birth defect known as craniosynostosis. The baby is now a young man in Seattle, and the surgeon is now Chair of Neurological Surgery and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Will Clarkson recently reached out to Dr. Stieg to reflect on how that surgery changed his life. 

Will Clarkson as a baby, after craniosynostosis surgery

Will after craniosynostosis surgery

“I’m sure my life would have taken a different course without that surgery," he wrote, "so I wanted to reach out and express my thanks for the part you played in setting it on a better course. I graduated from Tufts University, have worked at Microsoft for the last 8 years, and in the last few years started a small business to pursue an interest in manufacturing. I feel lucky to have had all those opportunities.”

"There is really nothing quite as gratifying as hearing from former patients updating me on how they’re doing," says Dr. Stieg. "Knowing that I’ve helped some­one live a life they wouldn’t otherwise have had is why I do what I do. Hearing from Will made me think back to when I was a young neuro­surgeon in Boston, and a new father myself. I truly felt the family’s fear as they handed their baby son over to me. It’s terrifying for a parent to confront a child’s illness, and the worry radiates from the photo above, which was taken by Will’s dad.

"I received Will's message just in time for National Doctors’ Day, and seeing the photos and watching his video warms my heart. A huge thank you to Will, and to all my patients, for making it so gratifying for me to be a doctor." Click here to watch Will's video

Will Clarkson video screen shot

More about craniosynostosis

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Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787