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When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery Paperback – March 17, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author begins his tale as a burgeoning medical student, internship, ending with his last year as Chief Resident. Interestingly, his last year, from his perspective was his worst. He explains that being a Chief Resident is a precarious position, because you have to continue to cow tow to the attending staff and the junior residents continue to look upon you as just another taskmaster, a kind of in-house bully, ensuring the skills required are learned. Vertosick explains the position as "straddling two worlds, "...a sergeant in the surgical military, friend to neither enlisted man nor officer, endowed with great responsibilities but given little true authority." (P.254)
There are many miraculous and downright bizarre cases chronicled throughout the text. One of the strange cases was the woman who had been shot between the eyes by her drunken and irate boyfriend. Dr.Read more ›
Nevertheless, "When the Air Hits Your Brain" is an exhilarating read. I've been through it twice now---once through a night when I had pretty much given up on sleep. If you do intend to sleep, don't read it right before going to bed.
Here are the author's five rules for neurosurgery interns:
1. You "ain't never" the same when the air hits your brain.
2. The only minor operation is one that someone else is doing.
3. If the patient isn't dead, you can always make him worse if you try hard enough.
4. One look at the patient is better than a thousand phone calls from the nurse.
5. Operating on the wrong patient or doing the wrong side of the body makes for a very bad day--always ask the patient what side their pain is on, which leg hurts, which hand is numb.
Emotionally, Dr. Vertosick's worst rotation was to the local Children's Hospital. A child who was born with an inoperable brain tumor is the focus of the chapter entitled "Rebecca."
Read how the author strays into the 'inferno of overconfidence' as a chief resident, and comes "perilously close to emotional incineration." Follow him into the operating room as a patient's brain oozes through his fingers, where he is squirted in the eye by an AIDS patient's spinal fluid, and where he cures a woman who was misdiagnosed as an Alzheimer's patient when what she really had was a brain tumor.
Dr. Vertosick has written another, equally interesting book, "Why We Hurt," on the 'natural history' of pain.
Vertosick fell into neurosurgery by happenstance. He spent some time as a steelworker, majored in theoretical physics, and wound up choosing medicine by default. In the years to come, he would have to adjust to impossibly long hours, inadequate sleep, and hit-or-miss meals. He would become adept at performing quickly and efficiently under pressure. However, none of his earlier experiences would fully prepare him for the emotional roller-coaster that lay ahead.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I could not put the book down...and for me that doesn't often happen. I am an avid non-fiction reader, but it is few and far between that keep my interest...this book did. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Zoe H.
Loved the wisdom and the humour of the author. Could relate to a lot of it,
as an old medical man myself. Thoroughly good read!
Great book - air hit my brain 2 years ago after a fall. I hope that my brain is mostly the same though.Published 1 month ago by D. Hanson
Many takeaways and lessons to be learned even if medicine and surgery is not your field of choice. I highly recommend!Published 1 month ago by Brent
Especially interesting for non-professionals who are fascinated by medicine. Clearly written in lay terms but not so simple as to be dull. Highly recommend.Published 1 month ago by VolNole
A great book, but it might come across as too cynical for those who are not in the Health Care field.Published 1 month ago by BrooklynDoc
I am fascinated by this subject and thoroughly enjoyed this book. It did make me not want to ever have brain surgery, however.Published 3 months ago by S. G. Zell
as a health care provider, i can honestly say this is the BEST! He explains every aspect of the anatomy, and the disease process. Read morePublished 3 months ago by tod