Do No Harm

Do No Harm

Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"Neurosurgeon Henry Marsh reveals the fierce joy of operating, the profoundly moving triumphs, the harrowing disasters, the haunting regrets, and the moments of black humor that characterize a brain surgeon's life. If you believe that brain surgery is a precise and exquisite craft, practiced by calm and detached surgeons, this ... brutally honest account will make you think again"
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2015
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781250065810
Characteristics: x, 277 pages ; 22 cm
Call Number: 617.48092 MAR


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 04, 2018

Reads like a thriller. Informative and interesting cases from the career of a British neurosurgeon. Honest, humane, sarcastic and critical about the health care bureaucracy.
It seems that health care system problems are ubiquitous.

Dec 03, 2017

Compassionate, honest and captivating account of the daily work of a busy neurosurgeon. Dr. Henry Marsh does a great job describing the awful decisions he has to make on a daily basis. Many of these decisions involve whether to operate to prolong the life of a desperate patient and give hope to his/her family. It is not always the best decision because of the innumerable risks that will many times leave the patient worse off than before the operation. Intense, thought-provoking, and outstanding book!

Dec 14, 2016

Anyone who may be a patient should read this. It may help them to understand medical choices and life extension/quality life balancing. I am grateful that the author is so frank about his and other doctors' mistakes, and the acknowledgment that any good doctor becomes good by practising and making mistakes. In addition to being informative, it is also very well written. I will give it a five star rating if I know how.

Nov 27, 2016

I had trouble putting this book down. Well written and a reminder of all the things that can go wrong in people's brains.

My only criticism is that I would liked to have read more about the surgeon's time spent in the Ukraine which has a truly dismal and broken hospital system. A place where it's dangerous to have something as common as the flu and yet (just like any other country) has hospital patients requiring complex neurological surgeries that are carried out in antiquated facilities by sometimes not-so-skilled personnel.

Aug 30, 2016

This is really a biography of one British neurosurgeon. There's very little in here about the science of brain tumors. Not a bad read, but the author is incredibly self aggrandizing, annoyingly so at certain points.

Aug 23, 2016

The only problem with this book is that if you start reading it you forget about your daily responsibilities - it is so hard to put it down. And then my teenage daughter happened to read some of the text over my shoulder and we ended up ripping it from each other's hands.:) Highly recommended to anyone who likes reading anything medical or memoirs. The author has a gift to explain complicated things in simple words, so you don't need to be a medical professional to enjoy reading his book.

Aug 16, 2016

The medical stories are interesting but the added bonus is providing some insight into the operation of the UK's National Health Service.

Aug 01, 2016

Seemed a bit disjointed in the progression from not interested in medicine to neurosurgeon. Had some interesting comments on death and dying, treating patients in this situation. Reflections on his own ability to deal with death were interesting. Sometimes seemed lacking in details that would have helped understanding for the reader.

Apr 03, 2016

A well-reputed Neurosurgeon from the UK presents some of the medical cases he has managed and is refreshingly humble and honest in relating difficult lessons that he has learned.

Anyone that has the self-confidence to operate on brains surely must be made of something special. Marsh writes well, and conveys little of a surgical God complex in admitting personal responsibility for less-than-optimal outcomes of his surgeries.

A very entertaining read for those who are interested in Medicine and/or Neurosurgery.

Feb 29, 2016

This is a personal and astonishingly honest account by a very self-aware individual of his medical career starting as a an Oxford grad with no scientific training to becoming one of the UK's top neurosurgeons. He recounts his feelings of anger, arrogance, despair, triumph, callousness, and empathy in dealing with patients, the UK health care system, and his own limitations. It makes you realize just how tenuous the outcome can be in even the most routine surgery regardless of the skill of the individual. A fascinating read.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
Oct 05, 2018

tunetchuler thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Aug 23, 2016

evro66 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at DCL

To Top