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This review is from: Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery (Hardcover)
I was gripped by this book. Mr Marsh is a consultant neurosurgeon and in the book, he describes all aspects of his professional life as well as some of his personal life experiences. He deals with stories of patients and the various ailments that can affect the brain, as well as enlightening the reader about the vagaries of trying to use NHS computer systems to help his patients. One guy, who fears he has a brain tumour, has to sit and wait half an hour while Mr Marsh runs up and down stairs trying to get a password to get him into the right system to call up the patient's scan. The correct password turns out to be "F***off47" because another consultant hates the system so much, all his passwords are expletives. The sense of growing anxiety as the patient waits is clearly evident. Mr Marsh gives us a glimpse into the psyche of the surgeon. You cannot afford to let yourself care too much, or you would never do your job. You have to face your mistakes - and Mr Marsh does that with honesty, I think. I also liked the way in which he described being a patient himself and was open about how he thought he would cope with a terminal diagnosis (not very well).
In all, he raised my opinion of doctors, and my faith in them. I suspected that doctors sometimes get the balance of hope and honesty wrong when giving diagnoses, and after reading this book I feel I understand the issues that doctors have to grapple with a little better.
I could not put this book down and read it very quickly. It does make you thankful that you are not having to face the dreadful illnesses described. A life affirming read. My favourite bit was where Mr Marsh went to a cemetery in the Ukraine. Looking at the headstones with their pictures of the deceased, he said his thought was that they were all balefully looking at him, as if to say, "We are dead. You are still alive. What are you doing with the time left to you?" Indeed.
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Initial post: 27 Jul 2014 13:02:47 BDT
Ha ha! Love the mention of the password. That has got to sell the book for some guys out there! Thanks!
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