Do No Harm | Teen Ink

Do No Harm

January 3, 2019
By sararobinson BRONZE, Newport Beach, California
sararobinson BRONZE, Newport Beach, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Prior to reading this surgical autobiography, I never had the courage to admit I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. Because, even though practically everyone that knew me well understood I gravitated towards a medical career, I never thought I could tell anyone about my interest in a neurosurgical specialty. It seemed too daunting and honestly sometimes impossible. But after reading about the career of author Dr. Henry Marsh, my mindset towards neurosurgery changed for the better.

Dr. Marsh is honest and he highlights the constant risk and death neurosurgery provides. Brain tissue is startlingly complex and currently, there are very few ways new neurosurgeons can practice operations. And this leads to surgeons having to practice on actual patients. Because of this, Dr. Marsh highlighted that unfortunately, neurosurgeons will harm more than they help. This scared me at first and temporarily made me fall back to my mindset that neurosurgery was too difficult for me. When Dr. Marsh stressed the value of learning from mistakes and focusing on the next patient you can help instead of fixating on failures, my confidence was restored.

Marsh writes in a way that makes you feel as though you are in the operating room, staring down at the patients’ ependymomas and pineocytomas he is treating. He balances the captivating factual information on the tumors he treats with his experiences helping to diminish the common worries patients feet and comforting them during their difficult times. Page after page, I grew closer to each patient alongside Dr. Marsh, but at the end of most chapters I would be crushed when the patient died due to their surgery.

Once I finished this autobiography, though, I understood why neurosurgeons continue to practice medicine despite the obvious failures it involves. Operating on brain tissue is extremely dangerous and there is a myriad of mistakes that can be fatal. As a surgeon, I will fail people. But it is better to try, yet fail to save someone’s life than not to try at all.  Dr. Marsh shared his experiences openly, and even though it challenged me, it enabled me to see what I may experience as I pursue a surgical career.

So, if you have even the smallest interest in medicine, I strongly urge you to read this. It will give you the confidence to take the risk and leap head first into the possibility of a career in medicine.

The author's comments:

I want to be a doctor! So, I have begun reading about this career as much as possible. I really liked this surgeon written angle and urge anyone remotely interested or even afraid of pursuing a career in medicine to read it. 

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This article has 5 comments.

Carolinew807 said...
on Jan. 8 at 10:48 pm
Carolinew807, Costa Mesa, California
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I love how you shared your personal story to relate to readers. I want to be a doctor too, and I now plan on reading this book. Well done!

Sarahr111 said...
on Jan. 8 at 10:45 pm
Sarahr111, Chicago, Illinois
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Through this review I have become inspired to read this book. I do not know much about neuroscience and now I am definitely going to read this book and I am excited to learn more about this subject.

Juliarou said...
on Jan. 8 at 3:03 pm
Juliarou, Newport Beach, California
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I really liked this article. This autobiography seemed really interesting and your article made me want to read it!

mlucore said...
on Jan. 8 at 2:50 pm
mlucore, Costa Mesa, California
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I love how real this is! You held nothing back and were honest about everything, which I really appreciated. Your style is not only easy to read but entertaining as well. We need more writers like you!

hcoyne said...
on Jan. 8 at 1:49 pm
hcoyne, Raleigh, North Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This is very insightful! Your writing style made it easy and interesting to read. After reading this I want to further my knowledge of neuroscience.

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