Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Henry Marsh. Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery. Thomas Dunne Books, 2015. 288 pages. $16.

Henry Marsh is a highly respected neurosurgeon with a speciality in brain surgery.

This is a book about his mistakes. It may appear a bit self-aggrandizing, because his mistakes are different... they are a matter of life and death or permanent, severe disability, and Marsh is already operating at a very high level. That is, he's a master surgeon, working at the very top of his field, and his mistakes are exceptional in that most people will never have Marsh's extreme level of competency. So the context of a mistake for Marsh exists in an almost incomprehensible level of perfection. In any case, medical professionals normally don't talk about their mistakes whereas Marsh openly struggles with his shortcomings.