At 8 o’clock on an icy morning, Jay Jayamohan is doing ward rounds at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Someone has made a valiant attempt to cheer up the place. The walls are orange, the window frames are pink and paper stars hang from the ceiling.
A child-sized wheelchair sits next to the reception desk, which is covered in cards. “Thank u for helping me get better,” reads one, in sprawling child’s handwriting.
Jay (49) is a children’s brain surgeon. Today, his patients include a three-month-old baby with a bleed on the brain and a cheerful four-year-old boy who needs a third operation on his brain stem. He coaxes a smile out of a grumpy little boy with an enormous bandage around his head and explains to the tense parents of another how he will perform a shunt operation later that day.