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Contents:
  1. Books with a similar title
  2. About Back to the Bible
  3. The Reluctant Savior
  4. Mighty Savior - Forward with Back to the Bible - June 28, 12222
  5. The Reluctant Savior by Robert Erickson

How do you live with the consequences of performing a potentially lifesaving operation when it all goes wrong? In neurosurgery, more than in any other branch of medicine, the doctor's oath to "do no harm" holds a bitt What is it like to be a brain surgeon?

Books with a similar title

In neurosurgery, more than in any other branch of medicine, the doctor's oath to "do no harm" holds a bitter irony. Operations on the brain carry grave risks. Every day, leading neurosurgeon Henry Marsh must make agonizing decisions, often in the face of great urgency and uncertainty. If you believe that brain surgery is a precise and exquisite craft, practiced by calm and detached doctors, this gripping, brutally honest account will make you think again. With astonishing compassion and candor, Marsh reveals the fierce joy of operating, the profoundly moving triumphs, the harrowing disasters, the haunting regrets, and the moments of black humor that characterize a brain surgeon's life.

Do No Harm provides unforgettable insight into the countless human dramas that take place in a busy modern hospital. Above all, it is a lesson in the need for hope when faced with life's most difficult decisions.

About Back to the Bible

Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Do No Harm , please sign up. I've read only the first chapter and I'm not fascinated Is he describing the operation and the outcome in all following chapters too or they are different? Diana It shows the emotional toll the outcomes of operations, but more difficult in his mind, the decision to operate. It is an insight to the humanity of …more It shows the emotional toll the outcomes of operations, but more difficult in his mind, the decision to operate.

It is an insight to the humanity of one surgeon, and the themes are shared among many doctors. It's not just a re-telling of multiple operations, but the lessons a surgeon has learned about himself and about how other people deal with death. See all 3 questions about Do No Harm….

Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jan 05, Alison Anderson rated it really liked it. I read this book because Mr Marsh operated on a friend of mine who had a brain tumour - she sadly died, but 5 years after her surgery. Some throwaway lines such as "I like to wash my female patients' hair" rang true - she had wonderful long hair and she found it very moving that her surgeon made her hair beautiful again after the mess that accompanies brain surgery.

As a fellow doctor , I both liked his honesty but also realised he must be impossible to work with. Other asides which are very reve I read this book because Mr Marsh operated on a friend of mine who had a brain tumour - she sadly died, but 5 years after her surgery. Other asides which are very revealing - " I think most of my colleagues dislike me" and the story of him throwing out fellow surgeons from "his" neurosurgery restroom reveals a lot of insight into how he is viewed at work.

Other statements such as " I do not allow junior doctors or medical students in my clinic" - are just exasperating - how do they learn then? How did Henry Marsh himself learn?? In neurosurgery, a tiny lapse of concentration or just sheer bad luck, renders the patient potentially paralysed or dead, or worse - he does explain what is worse Neurosurgeons are often accused by other doctors of behaving as if they were God, and being immensely condescending to others - but here you get to see the other side of the coin - knowing you CAN operate but having to decide if you SHOULD, having to go and see a patient you have rendered paralysed, or at least, failed to cure, having to cope with the huge expectations, and huge anger and disappointment of relatives, and so on.

In highlighting so many cases where things have gone wrong, perhaps Henry Marsh does himself a disservice - after all, to many of his patients, including my friend, he is viewed as wonderfully kind, reassurring, capable - everything one would wish for if you have to undergo such a frightening procedure. As well as these cases where often he shows things not turning out well, he has performed hundreds of operations that have been huge successes.

A very interesting book View all 15 comments.


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Aug 16, P-eggy rated it it was amazing Recommended to P-eggy by: Nancy. Shelves: read. This was a bit of a surprise after reading several of the late Oliver Sacks books on neurology view spoiler [ including On the Move , his autobiography and my best book of the year hide spoiler ] , concentrating on the symptoms, psychology and behaviour of a person with a brain with a physical disorder. This book is on the nitty gritty scalpels in the brain, blood spurting out and deflating tumours from within.

Not what I expected at all. But good, very good. It's my bedtime book. What does that This was a bit of a surprise after reading several of the late Oliver Sacks books on neurology view spoiler [ including On the Move , his autobiography and my best book of the year hide spoiler ] , concentrating on the symptoms, psychology and behaviour of a person with a brain with a physical disorder. What does that say about me?

View all 4 comments. Shelves: 5-star-books , science , auto-and-biog. It also describes the charity work he does at a hospital in the Ukraine, working in incredibly difficult conditions. He's funny But he has a kinder view towards people - especially towards his patients. Until reading this book I hadn't really taken on board the full implications of what can happen if brain surgery goes wrong. You can be left unable to speak, or paralysed down one side, or even in a completely vegetative state for the rest of your life.

And if the stories in this book are anything to go by - the risks are quite high. If the outcome of the operation going wrong was death, that would be an okay alternative for me , but given that the outcome can be life, but a grossly diminished life?

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The Reluctant Savior

For me then the cost would be too high. The brain is an incredibly difficult thing to operate on.


  • Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery?
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There are risks. And when things go wrong they can go horribly wrong. Even for experienced surgeons, the challenges are often enormous.

Mighty Savior - Forward with Back to the Bible - June 28, 12222

On the other hand, experience shows that when faced with the prospect of death, we often cling on to life with desperation. Marsh has seen this time and time again, as people beg to be operated upon, and then later, to be operated on again, to squeeze just a few more months out of life.

Life without hope is hopelessly difficult but at the end hope can so easily make fools of us all. I will end on a happier note, albeit one peppered with expletives. It illustrates the frustration that hospital staff experience in the day-to-day care that they try and give their patients. It is a long extract, but it made me laugh. I had seen it two days earlier but I see so many scans every day that I have to have the scan immediately in front of me whenever I see a patient if I am not to make a mistake.

I found it and summoned up a password box. I have lost count of the number of different passwords I now need to get my work done every day. I spent five minutes failing to get into the system. I was painfully aware of the anxious man and his family watching my every move, waiting to hear if I would be reading him his death sentence or not.

I've tried every bloody password I know. I rang Gail Marsh's secretary but she was unable to solve the problem. She gave me the number of the X-ray department but when I tried it I only got an answering machine in reply. I'll go upstairs to see if I can get one of the X-ray secretaries to help. That usually works. Fuck Off He hates computers. So I ran down the corridor and down the stairs and past the waiting patients back to the consultation room.

They laughed nervously. I duly typed in 'Fuck Off 45' but, having thought about it, and having told me that is was 'checking my credentials' the computer told me that the password was not recognised. I tried typing in Fuck Off 45 in many different ways, upper case, lower case, with spaces, without spaces.

I typed in Fuck Off 44 and Fuck Off 46, but without success. I ran back upstairs a second time, followed by the curious, anxious eyes of the patients in the waiting area. The clinic was now running late and the number of patients waiting to see me was steadily growing. I went back to the X-ray Department and found Caroline at her desk. I told her that Fuck Off 45 did not work. Maybe you don't know how to spell Fuck Off" We went downstairs together and returned to the consultation room.

View all 12 comments.

The Reluctant Savior by Robert Erickson

Jan 29, Erika rated it really liked it Shelves: books-read-in English neurosurgeon Henry Marsh does write beautifully about brain surgery. There are 4. Again and again, Marsh provides examples, sometimes hilarious, sometimes depressing, of the way technology and a dysfunctional corporate culture impedes his ability to help patients. They are terrified and ready to hear the worst as they sit and wait for his verdict.