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By Bonny on 06-03-15
Neurosurgical struggles between hope & reality
Do No Harm provides interesting, educational, terrifying, and honest insights into neurosurgery, the patients that undergo the surgery, Britain's National Health Service, and the author himself. Each chapter deals with a different condition - pineocytoma, meningioma, anaesthesia dolorosa, hubris - in which Mr. Marsh recounts his successes, failures, thoughts, and feelings.
His prose is beautiful when describing the brain and his view through the counterbalanced surgical microscope, which “leans out over the patient’s head like an inquisitive, thoughtful crane.” The internal cerebral veins are like “the great arches of a cathedral roof”. Marsh writes about his anxiety, how and how much he should convey to his patients, the unusual route of how he became a neurosurgeon, his frustrations, and all the things that make him human first, neurosurgeon second. When speaking with patients, he struggles to find the balance between “hope and reality,” “optimism and realism,” “detachment and compassion.” This book details those struggles in fine form, and Jim Barclay provides absolutely perfect narration.
29 of 31 people found this review helpful
By Scott on 06-02-15
Would you recommend Do No Harm to your friends? Why or why not?
This audiobook features the reflections of Dr. Henry Marsh, a British Neurosurgeon with over thirty years of practice, primarily in brain surgery. His writing is straightforward and surprisingly honest – he’s not hesitant to admit mistakes in judgment, instances he has erred, and the unfavorable outcomes that haunt him (and the reader). Do No Harm is most gripping when it focuses on the surgeries and the patients – there is a surprising amount of detail and suspense in these parts. Unfortunately, these are interspersed with many less interesting bits – the inadequacies of the British health care system, hospital bureaucracies, and incompetent colleagues to name a few - where Marsh’s recollections come across as rants. This isn’t helped by the narration whose tone is more often than not equal parts frustration and irritation and which I found distracting. Do No Harm offers an interesting glimpse into the day to day world of a neurourgeon and probably should be required reading by any medical intern thinking of making this their career. For the layperson, however, I wish it had confined itself solely to the operating room.
34 of 38 people found this review helpful