In the rarest of rare cases, a woman patient in a British Hospital played Mahler and Gershwin on the violin while being operated on her brain. 

According to NDTV, the woman had been playing the instrument for over 40-years and continued playing at a critical hour so she doesn’t forget about her favourite hobby. 

India Today

Dagmar Turner, 53, a former management consultant was diagnosed with a tumour in the right frontal lobe of her brain – an area that closely controls our motor functions and movements. 

To prevent any damage to her violin playing abilities, the Consultant Neurosurgeon, Professor Keyoumars Ashkan, proposed a unique but effective plan. 


Ashkan, along with his team of specialized surgeons, decided to map Turner’s brain, open her skull and then get her to play as they proceeded to remove the tumour. 


Much to their surprise, Turner started playing music by Gustav Mahler, George Gershwin’s jazz classic “Summertime” and pieces by Spanish songwriter and singer Julio Iglesias.

All that after the surgeons had cut away a part of her brain. 


Speaking after the successful surgery, Dr. Ashkan said: 

This was the first time I’ve had a patient play an instrument. We managed to remove over 90 percent of the tumour, including all the areas suspicious of aggressive activity, while retaining full function in her left hand.

Turner, who believed she will lose all her abilities after the operation, thanked the group of surgeons and doctors saying she quite doesn’t believe it. 

In an emotional note, she thanked the doctors saying:

The violin is my passion; I’ve been playing since I was 10 years old. The thought of losing my ability to play was heart-breaking.
Weedy News

Apart from Turner’s willpower to play throughout the surgery, we must also laud Dr. Ashkan’s unique yet successful plan that ultimately paid off.