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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.
From the Inside Flap
--Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of Love, Medicine and Miracles
Rule One for the neurologist in residence: "You ain't never the same when the air hits your brain." In this fascinating book, Dr. Frank Vertosick brings that fact to life through intimate portraits of patients and unsparing yet gripping descriptions of brain surgery.
With insight, humor, and poignancy, Dr. Vertosick chronicles his remarkable evolution from naive young intern to world-class neurosurgeon, where he faced, among other challenges, a six week-old infant with a tumor in her brain, a young man struck down in his prime by paraplegia, and a minister with a .22 caliber bullet lodged in his skull. In candid detail, WHEN THE AIR HITS YOUR BRAIN illuminates both the mysteries of the mind and the realities of the operating room.
--Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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
Fascinating, easy to read, and it helps understand the meaning of life to nature and to medicine frequently in conflict.Published 8 days ago by Fernando R. Marty Ordonez
A quick solid read. Very enjoyable for anyone interested in medicine especially from an insiders telling.Published 1 month ago by virginia chase
This is classic novel of a striving doctor to help the world. The doctor has a natural talent that he was able to effectively practice on his patients. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
At times it's sad. At other times it's unsettling. Parts even make you laugh. It's as much a journey into the humanity of the world of neurosurgery, and the path to becoming a... Read morePublished 1 month ago by QuantumGhost
Very realistic in details. I felt like Frank was talking to me. Humor was good and appropriate ! Frank was able to admit his weaknesses along with strengths!Published 2 months ago by Joellen Megan