What are the lessons of a doctor's life

Reviews to
For life and death

The last week in my life as a medical student I also received the book "Um Leben und Tod" by Dr. Henry Marsh accompanied - published on March 13, 2017 by Spiegel Buchverlag, it comprises 368 pages - and every single one of them impressed me deeply. How does a brain surgeon work? How does it feel to cut into the organ that people think and dream with? And how do you deal with it when a patient's life depends on their own healing skills? Operations on the innermost part of the human being are always associated with incalculable risks. Henry Marsh, one of the best neurosurgeons in Great Britain, talks impressively open, self-critical and humorous about the exceptional situations that make up his everyday work. His stories are about healing and helping, about hope and failure, about fatal mistakes and the difficulty of making the right decision. When I saw “For Life and Death” for the first time on studylikegranger on your Instagram profile, I knew straight away: I have to read this! And I was not disappointed. The subtitle “A brain surgeon tells of healing, hope and failure” sums up the subject of the book better than I ever could. Each of the 25 chapters starts with a disease (especially brain tumors) or a symptom in the heading: oligodendroglioma, tic douloureux or the like. And appropriately this is illustrated in the chapter by a specific patient, a specific operation or "key events" in Henry's medical life. I personally liked this structure very much, because you learn new and fascinating things about the human brain and at the same time you could puzzle in each chapter, with whom the oligodendroglioma occurs and how it all ends. But is the book only for medical students, doctors or those who want to become one? On the contrary. With many explanations in between, which in no way degenerate, “To life and death” is written very understandably and precisely because of the subject matter I would say that the book appeals to non-medical professionals. The summarized message is: Doctors are not gods in white - they are wrong, are human, make fatal mistakes, make right and wrong decisions and they also have no control over coincidences, fate (?). In this book you get to know what it is like to be a neurosurgeon. Suddenly you as a reader try to make the serious decisions yourself, justify yourself together with the doctor why the patient could not be saved ... Some chapters in particular, some patient stories, even touched me emotionally. All in all, I learned important lessons for myself and my future as a student with “For life and death” (the brain surgeon's motto: destroy a life through an operation or maybe get a few more years out?). Precisely because Henry Marsh writes so relentlessly about himself and his mistakes, I was able to take a lot with me from the book, how I would like to deal with the whole topic later. Aside from “Healing, Hope and Failure”, this book naturally introduces you to the fascinating, slightly uncanny, but above all incredible world of the most important organ: the brain. Here, the reader is also encouraged to think for themselves. Is our soul, our consciousness, just an interplay of several nerve cells and electrical signals? It always seems incomprehensible that all these thoughts that I am formulating at this very moment should only come from this gray, jelly-like mass. In summary, I just want to say: Read this book, my latest highlight of the year! You start to deal with things that are completely lost in everyday life. The doctor suddenly becomes a normal person to the reader; a lesson that I also have to internalize again and again, and much more. "To Life and Death" will be great read for everyone. Many thanks to Spiegel-Buchverlag and the operators of the blogger portal for this great review copy! ♥