Prof. MUDr. Vladimír Beneš, DrSc.
Chairman of the Institute of Clinical Neurodisciplines, Emeritus Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and Neurooncology First Faculty of Medicine Charles University and Military University Hospital Prague

Professor Vladimír Beneš is the best neurosurgeon in the Czech Republic and one of the top 100 worldwide. He saw his first living human brain at the age of six. His father was the deputy head of the clinic at the Central Military Hospital, and his mother worked as a pharmacist in the pharmacy at the same hospital. Therefore, there was nothing strange about a first-grader going to the hospital to show his parents his school report. His dad was in the operating room, so naturally his son went there. The patient was under local anesthetics with a hole in his head. The son showed his father a big “A”, and the patient who had just been operated on commented: “You have a smart son.”

Vladimír Beneš’s father is the founder of Czech neurosurgery, and his successor is his son, the third Vladimír Beneš, who is also a renowned neurosurgeon today. Although it might seem that Vladimír Beneš was a bit predestined for neurosurgery, he knows that the moment when he decided on this particular field of medicine was when, as a fourth-year medical student, he saw an operation in a hospital in Pilsen, which didn’t go well and ended with a cardiac massage – and that was the precise moment he decided he wanted to devote his life to neurosurgery.

Vladimír Beneš is fascinated by the brain. He claims that “the brain is the human”; everything else is there to support it. The brain has legs to go where it wants and eyes to see where it’s going… Vladimír Beneš also says of the heart that it’s just a “thump-thump-stupid muscle”, and in a more polished form, he calls it an ordinary muscle pump that has only one task – to deliver glucose and oxygen to the brain: “The heart is a muscle that is controlled by the brain, like everything else. It just beats all its life, and towards the end of its life, it invents some arrhythmia or other problem to draw attention to itself. Medically, it’s simple because when everything fails, they replace it. You absolutely cannot do something like that with the brain.”

That’s also why a brain transplant is total nonsense for him anytime in the distant future – because it wouldn’t be a brain transplant, but a body transplant. The brain would be the recipient, not the giver: “In this, the hierarchy is so absolute that there is no discussion at all.”

Professor Vladimír Beneš is also a tireless promoter of neurosurgery and the co-author of the Czech bestseller My Journeys Into the Depths of the Brain, where he presents himself as a great storyteller with a great sense of humor. He is also an avid entomologist who has a collection of over 30,000 beetles, mostly ground beetles, which he goes on monthly expeditions for all around the world.

When asked what he is most proud of, he replied: “When I served as president of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies for four years. That was probably the apex of my career;  I highly regard the four years that I headed that up.”

The interview with Professor Beneš was nice, interesting, and pleasant. You can read it here:

Director Miloš Forman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and World Neurosurgery