That hopeful 5 %

Written by: Dr. Bartolomé Oliver Abadal
Edited by: Top Doctors®

As a neurosurgeon, you often face serious pathologies and malignant tumors with irreversible short-term prognosis. This type of tumors, unfortunately, tend to advance rapidly and patients who suffer from them usually have very short life expectancies. This is not always the case, but in 95% of cases. For this reason it is common for doctors to compartmentalize our minds so that our feelings do not prevent us from continuing to treat patients effectively. We usually keep the emotion, so to speak, in a small corner of our brain. But sometimes things happen that make you change your vision of things. This has happened to me in the last days.

As I said, malignant brain tumors have a survival of 18-24 months , even with the best surgical, radiological and chemotherapy treatment. Only 5% of cases survive that average. But in the last few days I've seen four patients go through my surgery who have overcome that statistical barrier, one after the other. Four representatives of that small, hopeful, 5%. Four people who have broken the cold statistics and have fulminated the forecasts in just fifteen days.


The first was a woman who operated when she was 27 years old. Now she is 39 and is a young and promising designer. Then came a housewife who evolves perfectly. After her, a patient who we operated five years ago, more than double the most optimistic forecast. And finally a prosecutor who was removed a tumor does nothing more and nothing less than fifteen years. Needless to say, the coincidence of the four, in such a short space of time, has made me feel an indescribable joy and that emotion, so to speak, came out of that small compartment inside my brain.

That made me think that maybe we should give more importance to that small, unpredictable, exceptional part that goes out of the way. In my point of view, doctors are 95% rational and 5% emotion. But reality has margins and those margins are where the exceptions that make us irremediably human escape.

After all, 5% is not a number, they are real people. And we all have the right to think that we belong to that 5%. Although it is not just another statistic.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Bartolomé Oliver Abadal
Neurological Surgery

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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