Wendy Moore

Decisions & Incisions

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 278pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Henry Marsh’s unflinchingly honest and profoundly moving memoir is essentially a long apology to the patients and their relatives whose lives he has, in his own words, ‘wrecked’. Looking back as he nears retirement on a career spanning thirty years, Marsh is haunted by the patients who have died or been left with devastating disabilities as a result of his actions. When one woman whose husband died unexpectedly from a stroke after an operation to remove a tumour asks the surgeon to ‘Remember him in your prayers’, Marsh answers, ‘I remember all my patients who die after operations.’ He adds to himself, ‘I wish I didn’t.’

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,
    • 'Keynes predicted that future generations would enjoy such an improved standard of living that they might work just… ,
    • 'Various dislocations ... emerge, iceberg-like, out of a troubled sea of unconscious motivation and confront Eisenb… ,
    • Today is the first today of the – they've got some excellent events coming up over the next two weeks.… ,