“Do No Harm” is a book that helps us understand the human drama that neurosurgeons have to face every single day. Brain interventions carry huge risks and decisions are never easy. Frequently, they must be taken with great urgency and many times doctors feel they have to intervene even though they know some operations will simply extend a patient’s life a few more months, but will probably make their lives a little more miserable.
With brutal honesty, British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh -nearing retirement and after having operated more than 15,000 patients- speaks of the ethical dilemmas and other factors doctors like him face on a daily basis. He speaks of the pleasure of operating and trying to save lives, he also talks about the specific difficulties of some of the surgeries he has had to perform and of the responsibility towards patients and families. He describes their fears, their happiness when things go smoothly and the anger and hate of relatives when things go wrong. Because he also speaks candidly about his mistakes. It takes a lot of courage, because in his profession mistakes can result in the loss of life or permanent physical or neurological damage.
Excellent book. It has changed the way I think about the brain and taught me a lot about how intense, difficult and sometimes epic the work of a neurosurgeon is.
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