There is a problem. The family crowds around to see what’s going on. It’s what they feared—a bleed. It’s complex surgery—remodelling the front of a child’s skull. In front of their eyes, it seems to be going wrong.
In this case it turns out fine. The operation is on television (Children’s Craniofacial Surgery, BBC2), the family concerned are watching someone else’s child, and the operation is a success. But this family, and many others, are watching because they know their child might undergo this type of surgery in the future.
The day before the programme aired, I listened as Mr Johnson, the craniofacial surgeon featured, spoke to parents of patients. He assured them that even though a complication arises in the programme and, yes, it is a complication that might happen to their child, it is rare and usually controllable.
In the programme, talking through her indecision over