When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.95
  • Save: $4.07 (24%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it Monday, April 21? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Good condition. Minor wear, highlighting or bent pages. Prime shipping!!
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery Paperback


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.88
$9.95 $6.34

Frequently Bought Together

When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery + Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science + Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance
Price for all three: $30.86

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (March 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393330494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393330496
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For the patient, an operation is a single defining moment. For the neurosurgeon, each moment in the operating room represents the culmination of decades spent struggling to learn an unforgiving craft. When these two join there is drama, often too much of it. This book tells the story of Frank Vertosick's metamorphosis from naive intern to neurosurgeon through intimate portraits of his patients and nerve-jangling descriptions of surgical procedures. Riveting, poignant, and sometimes shockingly funny, When the Air Hits Your Brain is a remarkable account of the mysteries of the mind and the operating room. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Instead of offering a collection of bizarre medical cases, brain surgeon Vertosick presents a set of harrowing clinical tales that highlight neurosurgery as risky, messy and often frustrating. The result is a riveting report that shatters the mystique of the brain surgeon as a wizard of technical prowess. Many of the patients profiled here die-an outcome not representative of neurosurgery at large, the author reassures us. The cases are drawn from Vertosick's six years of internship and residency. Among the most memorable are Andy, a Down's syndrome sufferer with multiple head and neck abnormalities who chose euthanasia over a life imprisoned in bed. We also meet Sarah, a pregnant homemaker with a malignant brain tumor who refuses radiotherapy and a therapeutic abortion. Vertosick is associate chief of neurosurgery at Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
103
4 star
8
3 star
4
2 star
0
1 star
2
See all 117 customer reviews
It's a book of triumphant stories, and disappointing ones.
A .J. Casper
"When the Air Hits Your Brain" is impeccably and stylishly written, with fascinating asides about the complexities of medicine and the human body.
E. Bukowsky
One look at the patient is better than a thousand phone calls from the nurse.
E. A. Lovitt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By CHEN SHANG CHI BRUCE on September 12, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm a neurosurgeon myself.I'm still so moved by the stories told by the author.They reflected the true life in my daily practice and circumstances.They seems funny but actually sad inside, filled with sorrow and tears of both the patients and doctors. I strongly recommend this book to those who would like to participate in this field of medical speciality and to those who would like to understand the real life of a neurosurgeon!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By C. Middleton on January 10, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The history of neurosurgery is a fascinating one, however, even more interesting is to see how it has developed over the last century since, for example, the legendary Dr. Harvey Cushing forged the techniques of brain surgery over seventy years ago. `When the Air Hits Your Brain - Tales of Neurosurgery' is a compelling collection of tales written with erudition and sensitivity with at times gruesome detail of brain operations that sometimes were successful and other times not. As Dr. Vertosick proposes in his introduction, that, for the most part, a surgeon learns more from the failures than the successes; therefore most of the stories within are tragedies - failures that paved the way to future successes. For those interested in the world of neurosurgery, this book should more than satisfy as it covers a vast array of different cases as well as the general ambience and culture of this very specialized profession.

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 ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had brain surgery for epileptic seizures and was cured. But as a result of this experience, I've continued to be fascinated with medicine and surgery.
This book gave me the chance to see what it may feel like to be on the other side. Dr. Vertosick takes the reader through his medical residency and through the long hours of being yelled at and belittled while trying to make people well. I think anyone who wants to go into medicine needs to read this book.
It's scary, but exciting at the same time! It's like you are going through this experience with the author and you want to finish reading the book so you can know you survived the journey and accomplished your goal.
If you are not interested in medicine or the operating room, you can probably live without this information. But for everyone else, it's a must read!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
Originally published in 1996, "When the Air Hits Your Brain," by Dr. Frank Vertosick, is a mesmerizing insider's look at "an arrogant occupation" whose practitioners operate on the spinal cord and the human brain ("a trillion nerve cells storing electrical patterns more numerous than the water molecules of the world's oceans"). A neurosurgeon must be supremely confident in his ability to get the job done; if he were to dwell on everything that could possibly go wrong during a procedure, he would be too terrified to operate. Because of the high potential for missteps, neurosurgical training is an arduous seven years of hell. Before he starts treating "brain cancers, spinal cord injuries, head trauma, [and] lethal hemorrhages," a trainee must endure a grueling regimen of study which includes repeated humiliation at the hands of verbally abusive mentors. This is not a profession for the faint-hearted, for when neurosurgery is unsuccessful, the results can be catastrophic. Even if the patient survives, his cognition, speech, movement, and vision may be forever compromised. In the words of Gary Stancik, a sardonic chief resident, the brain is like a '66 Cadillac: "It was built for performance, not for easy servicing."

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 ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By PVS on January 15, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading "When The Air Hits Your Brain". Dr vertosick talked about his medical training from a third year medical student to his chief residency in Neurosurgery. Dr. vertosick candidly talked about some Neurosurgical cases and their outcome. He made me laugh, and sometimes he made me cry. There is a wealth of information about the structure and function of the brain which Dr Vertosick relates to things in everyday life so it's easy for everyone to understand. One can see the warmth and compassion of Dr Vertosick in his writing. I highly recommend this easy to read, and well written book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa0aa7d8c)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?