Hollywood's Top Doctors: This Is the Urologist Steven Spielberg Recommends
DreamWorks Studios chief Jeff Small sought out Dr. Inderbir Gill, featured in THR's Top Doctors issue, after learning he had cancer
This story first appeared in the Sept. 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
In May 2010, DreamWorks Studios president and chief operating officer Jeff Small was told that he had cancer on his left kidney, and the kidney would need to be removed. "When I first found out about the tumor, I was really scared and very upset because I had two very small children," says Small.
But his boss, Steven Spielberg, encouraged the then-36-year-old exec to get a second opinion at Keck Medicine of USC (where Spielberg is on the board) with a renowned urologist who had just moved to town, Dr. Gill. "The honesty with which he spoke about my situation was very comforting and refreshing," says Small of Gill, who was able to do a partial nephrectomy, removing only the cancerous part. The surgery left Small with 80 percent of his kidney -- and cancer-free.
Gill, who moved to L.A. from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, is a leader in robotic surgery, in which he performs major procedures by making only four to five small keyhole incisions without cutting any muscle, improving both the surgery and the recovery time.
Small, whose surgery was laparoscopic, has sat in to watch Gill perform a robotic surgery and continues to work with the doctor and USC, hosting fundraisers (they raised more than $1 million for urologic cancer and robotics research at a 2012 event and have another on Nov. 20) and connecting Gill's medical circles with his Hollywood ones.
"He's a magician with what he does," says Small of Gill. "He is so confident and inspiring."
Indeed, Gill's confidence shines through -- he was so sure of his ability to remove Small's tumor that he convinced his patient to broadcast the surgery to a medical conference at USC.
Says Gill: "I still remember that two or three of the top doctors in America said to me, 'Had we not seen this procedure ourselves, we would not have believed it.' "
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