Brain Games (II)
Following on from last week’s review of The Mind Club comes a non-fiction book by Henry Marsh.
If ever you’ve wondered what it might be like to slice through a brain to save someone’s life, or wondered what a career as a brain surgeon is truly like, then Do No Harm might just be the most engaging book you will read these Christmas holidays. Each story of life-or-death situation could be read independently to a degree, but you won’t want to stop as the moment you start to read, you’ll find yourself totally enthralled.
What could be more enticing than a brain-surgeon writer who actually admits his fallibility and the mistakes made on the operating table? Or the stories of hope or desperation to which he has dedicated his life?
When I was 12, my father underwent brain surgery, and so the stories set in the hospitals of the NHS are more than just stories to my family and me. In fact, we owe our father’s life to the kinds of procedures described in the book. But mistakes were made then and indeed this book gave me a much better understanding of why they occur.
We’re talking about millimetres between being able to speak, or not, being able to see or not, being able to live, or not.
While this is not a book of happy tales – there are certainly fewer of these than sad ones – Do No Harm – gives insights you could only imagine into the world of neurosurgery, big decisions, small victories, administrative disasters, and ultimately the will of patients to survive the odds and their doctors to save them.
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