File Size: 634 KB
Print Length: 289 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1 edition (May 26, 2015)
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
As an anesthesiologist, I read with a mix of amusement and rueful resignation. Dr. Marsh is a true representative of his species, the neurosurgeon. These are by turns kind, irritating, cocky, courageous, conceited, brilliant, obsessive, awe-inspiring, and lonely. They usually graduated at the top of their medical school school. Their residency did not ending until they were well into their 30’s. Many hospitals have a lot of pediatricians, intensivists, internists, and hospitalists, nevertheless they just have one neurosurgeon. Even in an area of doctors, a collection of brainy nerds, they stand alone.
Their particular arrogance is undeniable. Holly Marsh relates how having been stuck in a line of shoppers at the supermarket and thinks with irritability that none of them could do what he or she just did today, so why does he have to wait behind them? Like fighter pilots or Special Forces, society is uncomfortable with such people, nevertheless we need them, we need them anxiously. And we always need them.
There is a moment before every intrusive medical procedure when you could pause and think about the enormous consequences of failure. If you spend too much time doing that, you will ending up paralyzed, and the individual will suffer. If you spend too much time thinking about the daunting human carnage that will result from surgery gone wrong, you will never take up the knife. No matter how skillful, educated, and careful you are, there will be conflit. No one knows this better than the neurosurgeon. To cut into a human brain takes enormous hubris. Every procedure includes the risk of loss of life, but there are more serious things than death. Many doctors will see worse-than-death only rarely during their career, however the neurosurgeon recognizes it often. It is the characteristics of their specialty. It truly is beyond extreme. For example, I induce a death-like coma in my patients daily, then rescue them from it. Yet I could not abide such a life of enormous risk.
Doctor Marsh is a writer of depth and skill. He probably does everything well, if he does it at all. If you believe that neurosurgery is fascinating, you should check out this book., After reading Doctor Marsh's account of his career as a neurosurgeon, I must say that I was very impressed at how tangible and accessible his writing expressed his thoughts and feelings about his patients and himself. I discovered a great deal about brain tumors and other diseases of the brain and spinal-cord. It was interesting to see how Dr. Marsh continually questioned himself after performing surgeries - " Did I do everything I could? " " How do I break bad news to the patient and his family? " Although not actually a humble man, he or she unmistakably displayed great empathy for his patients and frequently agonized on the inescapable blunders neurosurgery brings. Typically the times he cried when there was nothing more that might be done to help his unfortunate patients were very touching. By the ending of the book, I realized such a fine line there is between life and death and admired his courage for continuing to overcome his very own self-doubt in order to operate on patients with very serious brain problems and poor prognosis. Thank you, Dr. Marsh, for sharing the underbelly of a neurosurgeon's life., What could have been a dry bore of a tome is instead a very dynamic reading experience encompassing multiple aspects of the afternoon to day encounters of a neurosurgeon. The topic is interesting in and of itself however Marsh is honest, succinct, objective and subjective offering a very human perspective on brain surgery, the world of hospitals, procedures, healthcare systems, doctors and patients. Marsh is a refreshingly good writer, realisticsensible and sometimes profound. At times this book is intensive with the high stakes of losing from a subtle loss of feeling to unimaginable degradation of life losing the language faculty of the brain or being made a vegetable. There is also an NPR interview with Marsh available for listening online., I really enjoyed this book. Being a retired Neurosurgeon myself I possibly could relate to most all of the stories I appreciated his honesty in discussing problems and the harrassment from insurance companies And government regulators. Also his encounters with malpractice legal representatives was relevant. But what I liked the most was his discussion about the learning curve for a surgeon and how many cases he needs to do before he is an expert which means you will see some disasters along the way. Great book Jack Kushner, Doctor Henry Marsh besides becoming a celebrated neurosurgeon, he is a good storytelling. He made the topic of brain surgery interesting that would otherwise be dry and depressing at most severe. The thing I like about the book that it shows the individual side of a surgeon and more importantly what goes to make the difficult and important judgements of life and death. I also admired his modesty in mentioning his faults and failures rather than dwelling on his successes. He concludes nicely in Chapter 15 “Doctors need to be held dependable …………………………. At the same time if you do not hide or deny any mistakes when things make a mistake, and if your patients and their households know that you are distressed by whatever occurred, you could, if you are lucky, receive the valuable gift of forgiveness. ”
You may enjoy the book. Nevertheless , beware of the gory information on neurosurgery., Fascinating, genuine, compassionate insight into the world of neurosurgery that few get to experience. I simply loved this book and recommend it to anyone in healthcare or anyone interested in learning the subject. Mr. Marsh speaks of case histories that look fantastic and others that go terribly wrong. Some bad outcomes were not his fault but since chief of surgery at his hospital he or she accepts his responsibility with humility. You will relax uneasy with the variety of brain tumors that can afflict one. He or she writes with an economic climate of words that is practically poetry - an incredible page turner.
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