Teen Stays Awake During Brain Surgery, Listens to iPod

A teenager listened to his iPod throughout a 6-hour surgery in which surgeons removed a brain tumor from his head.

Surgeons wanted to keep Gavin Brooke, 18, awake so they knew they were not damaging his brain.

The doctors spoke to Brooke, from Harlow, Essex in England, throughout the procedure to ensure he was not in any pain, and head neurosurgeon Andrew McEvoy hooked up Brooke’s iPod to the room’s stereo system.

“It was important to keep him awake while I worked in a delicate area,” McEvoy said. “The music kept him relaxed.”

Brooke was first diagnosed with the tumor at the age of 14. He had surgery and radiation, but the tumor returned this year.

“The tumor was in a very difficult place that controls movement in his body and we had to ensure we didn’t damage the surrounding area,” McEvoy said. “A few millimeters too far and we could have paralyzed him, so I let him listen to his iPod. We talked to him all the through and he was happy with his music on.”

The first song to play during the procedure was “Apologize” by One Republic and Timbaland. Brooke said it was to say “sorry” to the surgeons for putting them through the procedure a second time.

“The music made the operation much easier to cope with,” Brooke said. “I spent two weeks in the hospital, but now I’m up and about and the doctors are pleased with my progress.”

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