Staff Review: Do no harm : stories of life, death, and brain surgery

From Andrea Kalinowski

Author:  Henry Marsh

Title:  Do no harm : stories of life, death, and brain surgery

Do no harm: stories of life, death, and brain surgery by Henry Marsh was an engrossing read. One point which I found especially intriguing is that the author admits his fallibility. Henry Marsh is a British neurosurgeon. He has worked in private practice and in the NHS (National Health Service). In addition, Henry has been on both sides of the operating table at various times in his life. His own son, a mere infant at the time of the diagnosis, needed a tumor removed and Henry himself underwent surgery for retinal detachment. Henry also broke his leg. Being on both sides of the operating table has given him an understanding of the levels of patience some of his patients require as they wait for and then undergo various examinations and surgeries. Dr. Marsh admits that he has performed surgeries against his better judgment. These surgeries were mainly an appeasement to the patient and/or the patient’s families who had difficulty accepting that nothing more could be done for their loved one(s). In reading Dr. Marsh’s memoir, I got the impression that he does not feel that life should be torturous, that sometimes the best thing to do is to let go. To my way of thinking, we treat, in general, our pets with more compassion than we treat our fellow human beings. We are allowed to euthanize our pets but our fellow human beings are sometimes subjected to heroic medical efforts without consideration being given to the quality and not quantity of life. What does it matter if a person gains six months of life if those six months are spent in a vegetative state? I have always found medicine fascinating and this book furthered my knowledge base. It strengthened my enthrallment though I recognize I am not physically capable of pursuing this field, much to my dismay.

My Stroke of Insight

From: Margaret  Mezzacapo

My Stroke of Insight

Author: Jill Bolte Taylor

I had read Ms. Taylor’s book several years ago from my viewpoint at the time as an EMT and member of the Fire Department, which I still am. But reading it now from the viewpoint of having had a stroke myself at a relatively young age, it takes on a whole new meaning and perspective. There were times when this book was almost uncomfortably close to home. Ms. Taylor chronicles everything spot-on. I’d recommend this to all audiences.

A whole new mind : why right-brainers will rule the future

From Alicja Feitzinger
author: Pink, Daniel H.
A whole new mind : why right-brainers will rule the future
Are you a Left-Directed or Right-Directed thinker?  The author uses neuroscience to create a metaphor for how individuals and organizations navigate their lives. In his opinion the trend is changing.  In the past the broader culture used to prize the L-Directed thinkers more highly, but now, R-Directed thinkers “are grabbing the wheel” and “will rule the future”. The Information Age is over and the Conceptual Age has begun. The author believes that we can succeed in the future by mastering these six aptitudes: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning.
Do I hold the key to the future after reading this book? – No, not really, but my understating of my own thinking patterns, our society and possible future trends has certainly deepened.

The Brain, human and otherwise

I’m in the middle of  Human: the science behind what makes us unique, by Michael Gazzaniga.  What I like most about it are the insights into how the things we think are so human are really just reflexes that have evolved from our chimp ancestors.  Right now he’s discussing morality.  There’s more later, but so far it’s all chemistry and biology.  When I couple these ideas with my work of weeding the religion collection at the library it makes an interesting contrast in my (human) mind.  Lots to think about, and I can’t wait to get deeper into the book.