Do No Harm

Do No Harm

Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery

Book - 2015
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The Instant New York Times best seller!

Riveting. ... [Marsh] gives us an extraordinarily intimate, compassionate and sometimes frightening understanding of his vocation. - The New York Times

Winner of the PEN Ackerley Prize
Shortlisted for both the Guardian First Book Prize and the Costa Book Award
Longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction
A Finalist for the Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize
A Finalist for the Wellcome Book Prize
A Financial Times Best Book of the Year
An Economist Best Book of the Year
A Washington Post Notable Book of the Year
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

What is it like to be a brain surgeon? How does it feel to hold someone's life in your hands, to cut into the stuff that creates thought, feeling, and reason? 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 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.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2015.
Copyright Date: ©2014.
ISBN: 9781250065810
Characteristics: x, 277 pages ;,22 cm.


From the critics

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Dec 07, 2019

This has been by far one of the best books I have read as a pre-medical student. It was definitely very hard to put down this book. Forgot about my phone and/or any other responsibilities I had while reading this book. This is a very fascinating yet honest depiction of his life- would love to read more books of this author without a second doubt.

Feb 04, 2018

Reads like a thriller. Informative and interesting cases from the career of a British neurosurgeon. Honest, humane, sarcastic and critical about the health care bureaucracy.
It seems that health care system problems are ubiquitous.

Dec 03, 2017

Compassionate, honest and captivating account of the daily work of a busy neurosurgeon. Dr. Henry Marsh does a great job describing the awful decisions he has to make on a daily basis. Many of these decisions involve whether to operate to prolong the life of a desperate patient and give hope to his/her family. It is not always the best decision because of the innumerable risks that will many times leave the patient worse off than before the operation. Intense, thought-provoking, and outstanding book!

Dec 14, 2016

Anyone who may be a patient should read this. It may help them to understand medical choices and life extension/quality life balancing. I am grateful that the author is so frank about his and other doctors' mistakes, and the acknowledgment that any good doctor becomes good by practising and making mistakes. In addition to being informative, it is also very well written. I will give it a five star rating if I know how.

Nov 27, 2016

I had trouble putting this book down. Well written and a reminder of all the things that can go wrong in people's brains.

My only criticism is that I would liked to have read more about the surgeon's time spent in the Ukraine which has a truly dismal and broken hospital system. A place where it's dangerous to have something as common as the flu and yet (just like any other country) has hospital patients requiring complex neurological surgeries that are carried out in antiquated facilities by sometimes not-so-skilled personnel.

Aug 23, 2016

The only problem with this book is that if you start reading it you forget about your daily responsibilities - it is so hard to put it down. And then my teenage daughter happened to read some of the text over my shoulder and we ended up ripping it from each other's hands.:) Highly recommended to anyone who likes reading anything medical or memoirs. The author has a gift to explain complicated things in simple words, so you don't need to be a medical professional to enjoy reading his book.

Aug 01, 2016

Seemed a bit disjointed in the progression from not interested in medicine to neurosurgeon. Had some interesting comments on death and dying, treating patients in this situation. Reflections on his own ability to deal with death were interesting. Sometimes seemed lacking in details that would have helped understanding for the reader.

Apr 03, 2016

A well-reputed Neurosurgeon from the UK presents some of the medical cases he has managed and is refreshingly humble and honest in relating difficult lessons that he has learned.

Anyone that has the self-confidence to operate on brains surely must be made of something special. Marsh writes well, and conveys little of a surgical God complex in admitting personal responsibility for less-than-optimal outcomes of his surgeries.

A very entertaining read for those who are interested in Medicine and/or Neurosurgery.

Feb 29, 2016

This is a personal and astonishingly honest account by a very self-aware individual of his medical career starting as a an Oxford grad with no scientific training to becoming one of the UK's top neurosurgeons. He recounts his feelings of anger, arrogance, despair, triumph, callousness, and empathy in dealing with patients, the UK health care system, and his own limitations. It makes you realize just how tenuous the outcome can be in even the most routine surgery regardless of the skill of the individual. A fascinating read.

Dec 13, 2015

Wanted a story telling the unique effects of brain abnormalities...this is really a personal story about one British surgeon... his comparisons of British health care system/ U.S. health care system were pretty intriguing (no American doctor can EVER admit a mistake- because of our 'for profit' hospitals!) Prefer anything written by Oliver Sacks.

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Oct 05, 2018

tunetchuler thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Aug 23, 2016

evro66 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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