Get to Know ... Domenico d'Avella
Domenico d'Avella is the Chair of the Neurosurgery Department at the University of Padua, Italy. He will be the host and co-President of EANS2017, the 17th European Congress of Neurosurgery, to be held in Venice from 1 to 5 October 2017. We are very grateful for his participation in the feature.
~Holiday: beach / countryside / culture / other?
Beach. I love cruising around the Aeolian Islands, the seven pearls of the Mediterranean.
~The wisest thing anybody ever told you?
Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think (Woody Allen told me).
~What book is on your bedside table (or Kindle) at the moment?
'Why Is Sex Fun?' by Jared Diamond (not a sexy book but an history of the evolution of human sexuality.
~Meet one person – dead or alive – who and why?
My grand-mother Giuseppina, she would be pleased to say hallo to me
~Your first car?
Very proud: Lancia Fulvia coupé 1.3s
~Most overused phrase?
Let’s find an agreement.
~List your favorites:
Book: The Lord of the Rings
Movie: Kill Bill
Dish: Parmigiana di melanzane
Band: Pink Floyd
Board game: Roulette (rigorously French)
Poker when I win.
~Where did you grow up?
In Sicily, in Messina, where the longest bridge of the world will sooner or later be built.
Piero Frugoni, one of the fathers of Italian Neurosurgery, who was always scared, as I am, by each operation.
~Your best / worst / most embarrassing moment as a neurosurgeon
The worst: When I placed a peritoneal catheter into the iliac artery.
~Best day for “difficult” operations
Thursday, possibly not early in the morning.
~“If I knew then what I know now” – advice for today’s neurosurgical trainees
Don’t be in a hurry to start operating. There is a lot of time left in front of you.
~If you hadn’t been a neurosurgeon …?
A musician, piano player.
~How to find the balance between the intent to be radical and saving the function.
Always favourise the function: we simply don’t know how it is to live with an aphasia, or with the inability to read or how it feels to have a facial palsy or to have a “minor swallowing deficit” (quoted by André Grotenhuis). One exception? Pylocitic tumors in children, be aggressive, surgery will reward you.
~Private practice, or public medicine, or a mixture of both?
I think this is like asking a priest how much it costs to celebrate a Mass. We are the ministers of a sacred ceremony celebrated in the OR. Money is outside. It is Society, rather than the patients, that must pay us adequately.