Bookshop Reviews

Do No Harm

By Henry Marsh

Recommended by: Dulwich Books

Bookshop name Dulwich Books
recommendation What is it like to be a brain surgeon? How does it feel to hold someone’s life in your hands, to cut through the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason? How do you live with the consequences when it all goes wrong? Do No Harm offers an unforgettable insight into the highs and lows of a life dedicated to operating on the human brain, in all its exquisite complexity. This book is a surreal read, once I got over the element of reading the bits about the actual operations it was an amazing read. At several points there are graphic descriptions of brain surgery & I loved his phrase “once you know what you are doing, it’s technically straightforward.” His reporting of the conversation between himself and the registrar was an interesting insight into the background of decisions. “It’s how you tell the story that will enable the family to make the decision” “Determined by what she said to them”. Means the family/patient has to have 100% confidence in the medical team. He has definite view on the state of the NHS and that it is now driven by managers and money. The book is also a review his working life, thinking about the decision he had made, were they right and he is honest and at some times shocking as to how decisions are made and he shows some insight and remorse (probably too strong a word) on his part. Fascinating & terrifying, humbling and informative, all at the same time. There’s no other book like it. Marsh is a man who knows he might make a mistake but believes in his ability & is passionate. Sheila O’Reilly