When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery
by Dr. Frank Vertosick Jr., M.D.
Tales from Neurosurgery
I took a break from my quest to re-read my library of books with an eye towards reviewing them on my blog, Amazon.com and Goodreads to venture into the realm of a new book. I chose When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery not from any specific recommendation but because of the reviews on Amazon.com. I normally don’t do this but I figured it was worth a shot.
And I’m glad I did.
Dr. Vertosick is a great author (or he has a damned good editor; either one will do) and has a very inviting style of writing about very complex subjects. He doesn’t go into great medical details, instead, he gives you enough to understand the problem the goes into what was done and how he felt about it.
I especially enjoyed his time in England and really appreciated the differences between the two views of medicine. I had to laugh when one of the senior doctors talked in disparaging ethnic terms about a patient, something Dr. Vertosick said wouldn’t fly in America. I appreciated his comment because I found that some of the European sports commentators would say things that would have gotten them yanked off the air in the US.
I found myself reading his chapter on his pediatric patient Rebecca twice because it touched my heart. His other patients were equally fascinating including the Viet Nam vet with the blown aneurism.
This is a highly recommended book. It’s an easy read (as compared to the previously reviewed book When Illness Strikes the Leader: The Dilemma of the Captive King by Professor Robert S. Robins and Dr. Jerrold Post M.D. written more for the academics in us) and a compelling read. I found it hard to turn away when lunch time was over.
I read the electronic version mostly on my iPad mini and my iPhone. I’m assuming that W. W. Norton did the electronic version, which I found (as opposed to Treating the Brain: What the Best Doctors Know – reviewed here http://allyson13.livejournal.com/2029132.html) to be fairly decent though I really hated the fact that it was justified text and wished publishers would not do this – it makes reading difficult and hyphenation impossible. I did find a few mistakes such as run on words, but nothing was a show stopper such as with the aforementioned book.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who is interested in first-person accounts of “How I became a Doctor,” those interested in surgeons and surgery, brain surgery and some neurology thrown in for good measure. I give this book 4.5 stars – a good solid read for those of us who enjoy this kind of tome.
My next foray is back to my library and hardcover books is A Brief History of Disease, Science and Medicine by Michael T. Kennedy. I really enjoyed it the first time and am curious as to how it stands up to time and a second read.
(Review first published 06 July 2014)