Admissions
Following the publication of Do No Harm, Dr. Henry Marsh retired from his position at a hospital in London. But his career continued, taking him to remote hospitals in places such as Nepal and Pakistan, where he offers his services as surgeon and teacher to those in need. Now, Marsh considers the challenges of working in those difficult conditions, alongside the challenges of putting a career of fifty years behind you and finding further purpose in life and work.In Admissions, Marsh offers a thoughtful, perceptive consideration of medicine and the pursuit of a meaningful life that will appeal to readers of Atul Gawande, Jerome Groopman, and Oliver Sacks.

Admissions Details

TitleAdmissions
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherThomas Dunne Books
ISBN-139781250127266
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Medical, Health, Medicine, Biography, Science

Admissions Review

  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    I love autobiographies. Sometimes one identifies strongly with the writer, and the reading process feels quite seamless. Then there are other writers whose experiences of life and the world are very different to yours. This makes for a bumpy ride, with little identification, but these books are often the most fascinating. For me this autobiography fits the latter mould.Marsh starts the book by telling us that above everything, he values his suicide kit, which he plans to use if he gets dementia, I love autobiographies. Sometimes one identifies strongly with the writer, and the reading process feels quite seamless. Then there are other writers whose experiences of life and the world are very different to yours. This makes for a bumpy ride, with little identification, but these books are often the most fascinating. For me this autobiography fits the latter mould.Marsh starts the book by telling us that above everything, he values his suicide kit, which he plans to use if he gets dementia, or some horrible terminal illness. He ends the book in a similar fashion, discussing voluntary euthanasia. He approves of countries and states where this is legal, and points out that the fact it is available doesn't mean that everyone rushes up to take advantage of it, rather it acts as a cushion of reassurance - reassurance that if everything gets too bad, there is a kindly way out. He also mentions that 75 percent of medical costs are incurred in the last six months of our lives. This presumably means that 75 percent of sickness and medical crises occur within the last six months of our lives. I am always pleased when these issues get an airing.The book covers the time when Marsh retires from working as a neurosurgeon in Britain, although he still continues with the voluntary work that he has done in Nepal and the Ukraine for many years. I found the book heavily tainted with sadness and regret. By the end of it I wished that he hadn't become a neurosurgeon, but had rather chosen a genre of surgery with higher success rates. He is obviously passionate about brain surgery and talks about the 'intense joy' of operating, but I think the costs/risks are too high, and a couple of times Marsh voices similar views.The situation is even worse in Nepal and the Ukraine, where things like brain tumours are left undiagnosed until much later stages than in the UK. Plus families insist on operations when there is really no hope of a good outcome. Another issue is that most of the young surgeons that Marsh is training in Nepal just want to get their qualifications and then practice abroad. In the Ukraine, Marsh has issues with his main associate of many years - the head surgeon of the hospital where he goes to do voluntary work. Even though much of the operating theatre has been furnished with equipment that Marsh has brought over from the UK over the years... and in spite of putting in years of effort to train brain surgeons here. In this book he terminates his commitment to going to the Ukraine.On a completely different tack, we hear about an old run down cottage beside the Oxford Canal, which Marsh has bought in his retirement and is renovating. Marsh is obviously a skilled carpenter, but this cottage is massively decaying and decrepit. Nor does it have a road leading to it. All materials have to be delivered by path overland, or by boat. He wonders if he has taken on too much. The cottage is attacked by vandals, who break the glazing on the windows that Marsh has made himself....but he keeps going with his project.I think Marsh has huge determination and drive, and he is not turned off by massively challenging causes. His honesty and scrupulous self-appraisal are admirable. Whilst I feel sorry that his life does not have more happy endings, I nevertheless found this a gripping and fascinating read.
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  • Rebecca Foster
    January 1, 1970
    Brain surgeon Henry Marsh’s first book, Do No Harm, was one of my favorite reads of 2015. Admissions serves as a sort of sequel, recording Marsh’s last few weeks at his London hospital and the projects that have driven him during his first years of retirement: woodworking, renovating a derelict lock-keeper’s cottage by the canal in Oxford, and yet more neurosurgery on medical missions to Nepal and the Ukraine. But he also ranges widely over his past, recalling cases from his early years in medic Brain surgeon Henry Marsh’s first book, Do No Harm, was one of my favorite reads of 2015. Admissions serves as a sort of sequel, recording Marsh’s last few weeks at his London hospital and the projects that have driven him during his first years of retirement: woodworking, renovating a derelict lock-keeper’s cottage by the canal in Oxford, and yet more neurosurgery on medical missions to Nepal and the Ukraine. But he also ranges widely over his past, recalling cases from his early years in medicine as well as from recent memory, and describing his schooling and his parents. If I were being unkind, I might say that this feels like a collection of leftover incidents from the previous book project.However, the life of a brain surgeon is so undeniably exciting that, even if these stories are the scraps, they are delicious ones. The title has a double meaning, of course, referring not only to the patients who are admitted to the hospital but also to a surgeon’s confessions. And there are certainly many cases Marsh regrets, including operating on the wrong side in a trapped nerve patient, failing to spot that a patient was on the verge of a diabetic coma before surgery, and a young woman going blind after an operation in the Ukraine. Often there is no clear right decision, though; operating or not operating could lead to equal damage.Once again I was struck by Marsh’s trenchant humor: he recognizes the absurdities as well as the injustices of life. In Houston he taught on a neurosurgery workshop in which students created and then treated aneurysms in live pigs. When asked “Professor, can you give us some surgical pearls?” he “thought a little apologetically of the swine in the nearby bay undergoing surgery.” A year or so later, discussing the case of a twenty-two-year-old with a fractured spine, he bitterly says, “Christopher Reeve was a millionaire and lived in America and he eventually died from complications, so what chance a poor peasant in Nepal?”Although some slightly odd structural decisions have gone into this book – the narrative keeps jumping back to Nepal and the Ukraine, and a late chapter called “Memory” is particularly scattered in focus – I still thoroughly enjoyed reading more of Marsh’s anecdotes. The final chapter is suitably melancholy, with its sense of winding down capturing not just the somewhat slower pace of his retired life but also his awareness of the inevitable approach of death. Recalling two particularly hideous deaths he observed in his first years as a doctor, he lends theoretical approval for euthanasia as a way of maintaining dignity until the end.What I most admire about Marsh’s writing is how he blends realism and wonder. “When my brain dies, ‘I’ will die. ‘I’ am a transient electrochemical dance, made of myriad bits of information,” he recognizes. But that doesn’t deter him from producing lyrical passages like this one: “The white corpus callosum came into view at the floor of the chasm, like a white beach between two cliffs. Running along it, like two rivers, were the anterior cerebral arteries, one on other side, bright red, pulsing gently with the heartbeat.” I highly recommend his work to readers of Atul Gawande and Paul Kalanithi.Originally published with images on my blog, Bookish Beck.
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  • Bettie☯
    January 1, 1970
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08q3xnvDescription: Nearing the end of his career, neurosurgeon Henry Marsh reflects on a life in surgery.Marsh read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University before studying medicine at the Royal Free Hospital in London, graduating in 1979. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1984 and was appointed Consultant Neurosurgeon at Atkinson Morley's/St.George's in 1987, he retired from there in 2015 and has since continued to operate in http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08q3xnvDescription: Nearing the end of his career, neurosurgeon Henry Marsh reflects on a life in surgery.Marsh read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University before studying medicine at the Royal Free Hospital in London, graduating in 1979. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1984 and was appointed Consultant Neurosurgeon at Atkinson Morley's/St.George's in 1987, he retired from there in 2015 and has since continued to operate in Ukraine and Nepal as well as teaching in hospitals around the world.His first memoir, Do Not Harm, was a bestseller when it was published in 2014 - Admissions is the more personal and provocative follow up.Henry Marsh has been the subject of two major documentary films - Your Life in their Hands (2003) which won the Royal Television Society Gold Medal and The English Surgeon (2009) which won an Emmy. He has lectured widely on the subject of hospital architecture and design, keeps bees and makes furniture in his spare time. He was made a CBE in 2010 and is married to the best-selling anthropologist and writer Kate Fox.
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  • Canadian Reader
    January 1, 1970
    It's been some time since I read Henry Marsh's wonderful and compelling memoir of his life in neurosurgery, Do No Harm. I had hoped to re-read it prior to starting his new one, Admissions, but I didn't manage it. I'd ordered the book from Britain-- as it won't appear in Canada until the fall of 2017, and I didn't want to wait. I started it almost immediately. Given the passage of time, I do not know if my recollections of the first book are to be fully trusted, but this new book feels very diffe It's been some time since I read Henry Marsh's wonderful and compelling memoir of his life in neurosurgery, Do No Harm. I had hoped to re-read it prior to starting his new one, Admissions, but I didn't manage it. I'd ordered the book from Britain-- as it won't appear in Canada until the fall of 2017, and I didn't want to wait. I started it almost immediately. Given the passage of time, I do not know if my recollections of the first book are to be fully trusted, but this new book feels very different. Marsh still (quite harshly and unforgivingly) represents himself as an impatient, irascible, sometimes arrogant surgeon. There is still the rigorous, unflinching honesty, particularly about himself and the medical errors and miscalculations he has made. However, his failings and regrets as a person, particularly as a son, a husband, a father, and as a human being are also sharply scrutinized. I don't recall quite so much of this in the first book. I'm also aware that I am a different reader from the one I was a few years back. Maybe that's the difference.As this second memoir opens, Marsh is on the brink of retirement, eager to be done, and more keenly aware than ever of the anxiety that he has long experienced just before he is about to operate. He feels that perhaps he is losing his nerve--the fearlessness, the boldness, the confidence that seem requisite for cutting into and manipulating the physical substrate of consciousness. Marsh fears retirement. What is to be done with all that time? He will need to be doing something. Woodworking and building things have long been hobbies, so he decides on a big project, perhaps an impossible one: he purchases a dilapidated cottage along a canal outside Oxford, not far from his idyllic childhood home, with a view to restoring it. Almost all the work he does here, though, is thwarted. Vandals break his beautifully crafted windows. The weeds grow back in almost obscene luxuriance. Still, he continues.Large sections of Admissions are dedicated to describing Marsh's experiences in Nepal, an astonishingly corrupt, almost lawless country, where he assists his specialist physician friend. In Kathmandu, Dev, who did his neurosurgical training in London years before, now almost singlehandedly runs a private hospital devoted to brain and spinal surgery. A homegrown celebrity of sorts, he has required a bodyguard since thugs invaded his home, kidnapped his daughter, and held her for ransom a few years back.While Marsh is charmed by the people and beauty of Nepal, and is able to do some surgical work there, he is profoundly frustrated by the language barrier. Both in Nepal and Kiev (where he has long worked with a Ukrainian physician, Igor), he questions the appropriateness of a surgeon (himself) operating on a patient he cannot speak to, cannot appropriately assess (especially cognitively) and "know". Ultimately, he appears to regard his personal project of assisting and sharing knowledge with neurosurgeons in another country as a kind of folly, perhaps even a form of hubris.Admissions is an aptly nuanced title for this medical memoir. Having performed work that has driven home just how much the intangible (thought and consciousness) depend on the physical (the brain), having seen how a person's very identity can be decimated by pathology, Marsh does not believe in God or an afterlife. Interestingly, though, his book has the feel of a spiritual biography of sorts. It is certainly a book of confessions, of admissions of error, and an account of the terrible human misery he has seen. Perhaps it is even an act of expiation and a request for forgiveness--if not divine, then at least human. Given what the author has seen, it is not surprising that he should fear his own death and spend some pages toward the end advocating for euthanasia. I found it hard to disagree with him.I learned a tremendous amount from Henry Marsh's book. I respect his knowledge, honesty, and integrity. Admissions gives a fairly rare, painful glimpse into the life of a neurosurgeon and a deeply thoughtful human being, who is well aware of his limitations.A good little video clip:https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ1uXSo...
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  • Stewart Tame
    January 1, 1970
    I won an ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. It's apparently due to be published in October of 2017. A bookmark that came with it urges me to include #stmartinspress in my review, so consider it done.Yet another book where the title sums it up more succinctly than I ever could. Henry Marsh is indeed a brain surgeon (presumably retired by now), and this is actually his second volume of memoirs (Do No Harm was the first. ) The book was fascinating. Marsh writes well, with great candor, and a I won an ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. It's apparently due to be published in October of 2017. A bookmark that came with it urges me to include #stmartinspress in my review, so consider it done.Yet another book where the title sums it up more succinctly than I ever could. Henry Marsh is indeed a brain surgeon (presumably retired by now), and this is actually his second volume of memoirs (Do No Harm was the first. ) The book was fascinating. Marsh writes well, with great candor, and an eye for detail. I have never been a surgeon of any description, but have a newfound respect for the profession. I had a vague idea, as do probably most of us, informed by various movies and TV shows and so on over the years. But, thanks to this book, I have a somewhat more realistic mental picture, of the decisions that must be made, and of the general complexities of the job.It's not all brain surgery. Marsh also writes about his off hours, his hopes and fears concerning his approaching retirement, his memories ... The book reminds me, in some ways, of James Herriot's work, All Creatures Great and Small and the rest. There's the same lovingly detailed descriptions of a life and career, a similar warmth and humanity. Herriot's work has perhaps more humor, but Marsh's has more insight and introspection. It's a book well worth your time, and I recommend it highly.
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  • Miriam Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Won in Goodreads Giveaways - not read, passed on.
  • Lindsay Seddon
    January 1, 1970
    Should definitely be read as more of a biography than as a continuation of his first book, Do No Harm. I found the stories of various operations both in the UK and Ukraine really interesting, but found myself skipping over life in Nepal and the renovations to the house he decided to make-over.
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  • Karan
    January 1, 1970
    Two and a half years back, I remember being left a little bewildered by the celebrated first book by ace surgeon Marsh which came packaged as a slice of life memoir-of-sorts which, to my consternation back then, alternated unannounced between his frustration with the current management styles in NHS hospitals, some scenes from difficult neurosurgical cases that took you right into the heart of his surgical practice and his brief, thwarted attempt to set up a neurosurgical mentorship and practice Two and a half years back, I remember being left a little bewildered by the celebrated first book by ace surgeon Marsh which came packaged as a slice of life memoir-of-sorts which, to my consternation back then, alternated unannounced between his frustration with the current management styles in NHS hospitals, some scenes from difficult neurosurgical cases that took you right into the heart of his surgical practice and his brief, thwarted attempt to set up a neurosurgical mentorship and practice in Ukraine. You briefly caught him cycling, but the real person behind that meticulous professional stayed off the page. Marsh was seen introducing his readers to his art, his skills and his tools, and understandably kept the anima behind the persona off the page. Admissions, his second outing, is the missing companion text to Do No Harm that introduces one to Henry Marsh the person behind the surgeon. I took right on to it after being struck by the introductory confessional where Marsh is seen contemplating about such morbid realities as suicide, euthanasia and what constitutes a good death. In his lonesome geriatric amble as he is considering a newly acquired retirement cottage as his next renovation project, he lets his nimble mind take his readers on various professional and personal trips down the memory lane, all tinged with a surprising dose of regret. With castigating candour he is seen drawing his personal equations, remembering the father whose memoir he wished he had written, the mother he wished he had spent more time with, the ex-partner he wished he had a better marriage with: Mr Marsh is practically unrecognizable as this doubtful old man. His sometimes uncomfortably intimate confessions in Admissions made me befriend Mr Marsh, an experience I enjoyed more than Do No Harm’s warranted but cold showboating from a pioneer in neurosurgery. Here, the counterpoints between the personal anxieties and the professional certitudes are stark. When a pioneer is seen dissecting a dedicated but narrow life with so much dejection and cynicism, I found myself privately cheering him on when he switched gears and busied himself in detailing a recollected neurosurgical case, However the binding theme here is that of despairing weariness as the retiring Marsh opens his eyes to the world outside neurosurgery and readies himself for retirement.He is seen dismantling all his achievements, unpacking all the uncertain moments in his illustrious career and is seen nervously groping for the Truth, wondering if there was a point to some, or any of it. What did all those trials, all that accumulation of knowledge, all those tremendous battles of will and action amount to? Did they have any significance outside the tight context of the healthcare system and institutions he tutored and practiced in? Arguably not, and this is terribly humbling, both for him and us. Seeing him mope about listless and unheard in an overpopulated, under-resourced, money-for-treatment outpatient clinic of a Nepalese hospital is a mind-state you didn’t expect Mr Marsh to find in, and there he is, open to Consider and Meditate. Being confronted with cultures, societies and problems completely foreign, he is seen re-evaluating the place of neurosurgery in the broader scheme of things; his righteous professional absolutism thawing into a more relativistic space and this makes for a remarkably more mature appraisal by him about his work’s Value (“As the human population continued to grow exponentially, and as I read it I wondered whether becoming a doctor, healing myself by healing others, might not be a little self-indulgent”). In this heightened philosophical state that he has worked himself in, the aphorisms from his pen acquire a new beauty, sieved as they are from the filters of contradictions and dualities that Mr Marsh is seen newly comfortable with. Especially here: “A good doctor will speak to both the dissonant selves of a dying patient – the part that knows that it is dying, and the part that hopes that it will yet live. A good doctor will neither lie nor deprive the patient of hope, even if the hope is only of life for a few more days. But it is not easy, and it takes time, with many long silences.” or “Many medical decisions – whether to treat, how much to investigate – are not clear-cut. We deal in probabilities, not certainties.” It is curious to observe that the same nervousness around senescence and dying that afflicts most of us also keeps this man awake: a man who has dexterously handled living tissue and cleaved dying tissue of other people, and has managed to wrestle in a good few months to years of thinking, breathing life for hundreds of patients “As I have got older, I have instead come to realize that we have no idea whatsoever as to how physical matter gives rise to consciousness, thought and feeling. This simple fact has filled me with an increasing sense of wonder, but I have also become troubled by the knowledge that my brain is an ageing organ, just like the organs of the rest of my body.” Sometimes, the heavy-handed existentialism gets a bit too indulgent and dysphoric or veers towards adolescent solipsism, but as we see him return to the elements: to the sights, smells and sounds of nature, he makes you smile. Its endearing to see him lose himself in the world of trees and tree surgery where he waxes eloquent about the smells of a freshly severed oak bark, and he makes for equally joyful company as he playfully searches for the Big Questions of Humanity by contemplating the brains, minds and inner lives of animals. By exposing his wounds so fearlessly, his subsequent rage at the litigious culture, and the exasperation at the dehumanizing, manager-driven NHS becomes a lament you want to lend an ear to. The questions he asks while articulating the woeful final moments where he has had to unceremoniously resign or is summoned to courts hits home with the young practicing clinician within me who is getting used to being part of the chaotic, failing-but-standing socialized healthcare.
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  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    The second part of Marsh's memoirs about life as a neurosurgeon. Here he talks about the end of his career and life after retirement. He discusses his work helping the people of Nepal and Ukraine as well as some of the cases he dealt with in the UK. Marsh has led an interesting life and this book gives us an insight into that.
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  • Julie Haigh
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! A FASCINATING memoir.This was definitely my kind of book-I love medical memoirs. It was engaging and fascinating from the outset. Enormously interesting. Honest, revealing, often eye-opening. As well as the author’s work in the UK, it also tells of his teaching and operating in Nepal, The Ukraine, a masterclass/workshop in the US etc. A fantastic book for me and written in such a way that it is very easy to understand for the non-medical reader.The book has a wonderful conversational style, Wow! A FASCINATING memoir.This was definitely my kind of book-I love medical memoirs. It was engaging and fascinating from the outset. Enormously interesting. Honest, revealing, often eye-opening. As well as the author’s work in the UK, it also tells of his teaching and operating in Nepal, The Ukraine, a masterclass/workshop in the US etc. A fantastic book for me and written in such a way that it is very easy to understand for the non-medical reader.The book has a wonderful conversational style, I got so much out of it, so much knowledge yet it was presented so simply. Reading the book it felt almost as if I was sitting in on one of his medical lectures-I just wanted to hear more from him, it never got boring. I found out later that he has written another book and am eager to get this. This latest book worked fine as a standalone for me, it didn't seem necessary to have read his previous book-yet I definitely feel the need to read more of his amazing stories now. I won a pre-publication copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.
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  • Shirley Revill
    January 1, 1970
    Henry MarshWhat a wonderful book.I really enjoyed reading Admissions. A life in brain surgery by Henry Marsh.Really interesting to read about his life working in London,Nepal and the Ukraine easing the pain and suffering of so many.I felt very humbled by the memoirs of this man.This book is certainly going on my to read again another day book shelf.Thank you Good reads for the opportunity to read and review this book.Very highly recommended.
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  • Hilary Hicklin
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting reflections of a neurosurgeon on his life in medicine, his thoughts on retirement, death and euthanasia. The sections on his time spent in Nepal and Ukraine are fascinating.
  • Mary Arkless
    January 1, 1970
    I had seen a review of this book, and thought it sounded interesting. It is a second autobiography/memoir by a eminent British neurosurgeon. As his first book was a bestseller and won awards, this one is also popular. I decided to request it from my local library. There is quite a waiting list for it, so when I came to be my turn, I could borrow it for just two weeks. It is due back today, so I had to set aside another book I was close to completing to get this one back to the library in time.Mr I had seen a review of this book, and thought it sounded interesting. It is a second autobiography/memoir by a eminent British neurosurgeon. As his first book was a bestseller and won awards, this one is also popular. I decided to request it from my local library. There is quite a waiting list for it, so when I came to be my turn, I could borrow it for just two weeks. It is due back today, so I had to set aside another book I was close to completing to get this one back to the library in time.Mr. Marsh writes in a rather pleasant way. Now that he has retired from the NHS, he is perhaps much more critical of himself and his abilities than he had previously been. He mentions that at a talk to other surgeons in Ukraine, he explained about honesty between doctor and patient, and how when a surgeon is young, they have to at least act as if they have no doubts about their own ability. If they are not 100% outwardly confident towards their patients, the patients will have even more reason to worry about their condition and treatment, and could forego treatment which would make them much better. However, he believes as a surgeon becomes older and more experienced, he or she needs to now unlearn this bravado and look at their true abilities, in order to notice their limits and perhaps improve their skills.He often touches very briefly on if there is a true "I", or if all we are is electrochemical activity. He firmly believes there is no afterlife, but does not try to force this belief on anyone else, nor ridicule those who do. He also does not believe in God or any deity in any form.Something he discusses often is the quality of life. The medical profession and Western society are moving towards preserving life at all costs, even if that life is with a totally changed personality, no chance of consciousness, or multiple physical disabilities with only very basic awareness. Mr. Marsh has become very aware of this conundrum over the last few years. It seems to me, he is leaning in one personal opinion, but can not quite spell it out as it is very harsh. Doctors are taught to preserve life, but what is the total cost? Sometimes the patient is there to discuss this decision with them, sometimes it is the family which makes the decision, but sometimes it is solely down to the surgeon, and it is not an easy decision. This is a stage of Mr. Marsh's life, where he is looking back at some very tricky cases, wondering if the right thing was done, and agonizing over terrible outcomes or mistakes made.There is plenty food for thought in this book. In hardback form, it is 270 pages, but it could be much more slender if different spacing and font were chosen. I think it could be an excellent choice for a book group, if the members like debating the meaning of life, human existence, how aware animals are, hope when there should be none, what- exactly - is consciousness and what - exactly - is reality.
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  • Megan Jones
    January 1, 1970
    Henry Marsh has spent a lifetime operating on the surgical frontline, experiencing the extreme highs and lows that come with it. Now prompted by his retirement from full-time work in the NHS, and his work in Nepal and Ukraine, Marsh has reflected on what forty years handling the human brain has taught him. Marsh recounts moving encounters from patients in London and those he treats in extreme circumstances abroad. This book has everything I was expecting and more. Marsh has a great mix of recent Henry Marsh has spent a lifetime operating on the surgical frontline, experiencing the extreme highs and lows that come with it. Now prompted by his retirement from full-time work in the NHS, and his work in Nepal and Ukraine, Marsh has reflected on what forty years handling the human brain has taught him. Marsh recounts moving encounters from patients in London and those he treats in extreme circumstances abroad. This book has everything I was expecting and more. Marsh has a great mix of recent encounters and encounters from the beginning of his career, showing how he has changed as a surgeon. There is also the perfect balance of stories from London hospitals as well as abroad and they highlight the stark differences in treatment and hospitals. 'Admissions' is extremely interesting for two reasons. Marsh's accounts of patients and his views on modern day medicine and reading about his many ideas and thoughts on wide-ranging subjects provide many interesting theories and really got me thinking about subjects.'Admissions' is an enjoyable read as well as being emotional and one that is incredibly thought-provoking. This book is informative and entertaining and I highly recommend it. 
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  • Wendy Greenberg
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed reading this rather meandering memoir. Less patients than his previous book and more personal insights & recollections. However, I found the chopping and changing of focus quite irritating. I could see the reasons for constructing the book this way but instead of providing an insight into the layers of experience that makeup a neurosurgeon it read (for me) as a rather self-satisfied thumb biting at those who had tried to "contain" him.Found the healthcare systems Marsh describes in I enjoyed reading this rather meandering memoir. Less patients than his previous book and more personal insights & recollections. However, I found the chopping and changing of focus quite irritating. I could see the reasons for constructing the book this way but instead of providing an insight into the layers of experience that makeup a neurosurgeon it read (for me) as a rather self-satisfied thumb biting at those who had tried to "contain" him.Found the healthcare systems Marsh describes in Nepal and Ukraine fascinating but would have preferred to read these as, maybe longer, self-contained accounts, with more of the patient stories, rather than flashing episodes.
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  • Alex Laycock
    January 1, 1970
    have just heard the Omnibus edition of this being read on Radio4.... just like his last book " Do No Harm" it was captivating, honest, touching,intelligent,sensitive poignant,especially the last chapter as he muses over his own ageing and thoughts upon what ultimately we all will experience in whatever form that may come, what a wonderful man,with touching snippets of other wonderful humans that cross his path as he operates
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  • A I
    January 1, 1970
    Honest.I enjoyed this honest sometimes brutal account of this neurosurgeon's experiences working in this country and abroad. It was refreshingly un romanticized and explored the current issues faced by healthcare professionals working in an increasingly 'tick box' and percentage driven NHS. It is sad that perhaps it is only towards the end of one's career that one can afford to speak so openly.
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  • Mrs Olga A Danes-Volkov
    January 1, 1970
    This is a magnificent book. Beautifully written, very thoughtful, if a mite pessimistic. Being older than the writer, it is sobering to realise that when he thinks himself old, I did not at his age. His descriptions of operations, colleagues, patients are fascinating and his opinions of unnecessary operations salutary. His thoughts on death are so interesting and for this reader at least, comforting. I would recommend this to anyone except the very squeamish.
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  • Warwick Cairns
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed Do No Harm. If anything this is even better
  • Thomas Haysom
    January 1, 1970
    An intelligent, reflective memoir written with hard-hitting candor on a life lived in service to humanity. Rooted in very real and often painful experiences Marsh does a hugely admirable service in opening up to the reader the stark and alien world of Neurosurgery where in an 'awake craniotomy' (which Marsh pioneered) a patient can view in real-time, the region of their own brain responsible for creating visual images. This is brutal and depressing reading throughout as Marsh explains some of th An intelligent, reflective memoir written with hard-hitting candor on a life lived in service to humanity. Rooted in very real and often painful experiences Marsh does a hugely admirable service in opening up to the reader the stark and alien world of Neurosurgery where in an 'awake craniotomy' (which Marsh pioneered) a patient can view in real-time, the region of their own brain responsible for creating visual images. This is brutal and depressing reading throughout as Marsh explains some of the heart breaking moral dilemmas members of his elite profession face. They seek to 'reduce suffering' above all else but he explains how his is a science of uncertainties with decisions made on balances of probability. His reflections on the afterlife, mortality and death I found a bit morbid and devoid of hope. But then I am young and have not seen people lose cognitive function and suffer changes in personality due to physical damage to brain tissue. His are profound thoughts; humbling when one is led to consider the deep mystery that is the human brain. He says he cannot believe in any separation between the 'I' and a bundle of neurons, white and grey matter and when the latter dies so will the former. No room for a soul. This is too bleak for me personally to accept - the sense of wonder and awe should not - cannot - be lost.
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  • Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    I received Admissions for free through the Goodreads Giveaways program.Henry Marsh is a British brain surgeon, and his long career is winding down. He writes about his training when he was a young doctor, about specific cases, about his time in Nepal and Ukraine, and about his thoughts and feelings on his life's work. Marsh lets us see that brain surgeons- though they are highly prized, skilled, and educated- are human beings like the rest of us. They get angry, they make mistakes, they can be p I received Admissions for free through the Goodreads Giveaways program.Henry Marsh is a British brain surgeon, and his long career is winding down. He writes about his training when he was a young doctor, about specific cases, about his time in Nepal and Ukraine, and about his thoughts and feelings on his life's work. Marsh lets us see that brain surgeons- though they are highly prized, skilled, and educated- are human beings like the rest of us. They get angry, they make mistakes, they can be petty. Marsh is aware of his shortcomings, and that makes him especially well suited to tell his story. The stories about patients and their various illnesses were especially interesting to me. The parts about his cottage and his childhood were less so.I'm not quite sure how the book was organized-- it didn't seem to go in a linear way and occasionally this was jarring. Also, the spelling alternated between American English and British English- I'm assuming this will be fixed in the final version.Overall, I recommend this book.
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  • Bonny
    January 1, 1970
    While I enjoyed Marsh's previous memoir, Do No Harm, this one is quite a bit different. I loved Marsh's honesty and the beautiful way he wrote about the brain in Do No Harm, but in Admissions there are fewer patients and less poetry in his prose. It is a perfectly titled book as Marsh admits his anxiousness to retire, worries about whether the drugs in his suicide kit will be outdated, overwhelming desires to renovate a derelict cottage, the sad state of healthcare in Nepal and the Ukraine, and While I enjoyed Marsh's previous memoir, Do No Harm, this one is quite a bit different. I loved Marsh's honesty and the beautiful way he wrote about the brain in Do No Harm, but in Admissions there are fewer patients and less poetry in his prose. It is a perfectly titled book as Marsh admits his anxiousness to retire, worries about whether the drugs in his suicide kit will be outdated, overwhelming desires to renovate a derelict cottage, the sad state of healthcare in Nepal and the Ukraine, and many of his own doubts and regrets. This is all written in a choppy and difficult-to-read style that jumps from his admittance to a psychiatric hospital to tweaking the nose of a male nurse in fury to the daffodils he planted when an affair ended. Marsh's honesty and questioning is writ large in Admissions, but it often comes across as sad and weary despair.Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book.
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  • Jessi
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway. I do not know exactly what I was expecting from this book, but what I read was not it. That being said, it wasn't a bad book. I feel as if the title is misleading since he spoke a lot about his personal life and told many stories about his work but never any "admissions". Maybe I assumed wrongly that admissions would be more entertaining. He had an interesting career and I enjoyed reading about it but also put it many references to his polit I received this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway. I do not know exactly what I was expecting from this book, but what I read was not it. That being said, it wasn't a bad book. I feel as if the title is misleading since he spoke a lot about his personal life and told many stories about his work but never any "admissions". Maybe I assumed wrongly that admissions would be more entertaining. He had an interesting career and I enjoyed reading about it but also put it many references to his political and religious beliefs. I agreed with some of them but I didn't really care to read about them, at least not in the context of this book. The way the book was organized confused me at first. He jumps front being in different countries and from being retired to not. In the end, I just had to not care that it was unorganized and choppy. I might have enjoyed it more if I didn't go in expecting something completely different.
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    I'd give this a 3.5 stars. I still have Marsh's first book, "Do No Harm," on my to-read list, but I had the opportunity to read this book first, thanks to getting an ARC from NetGalley. I think now I’ll push that one up closer to the top of my read-next list and see what else Marsh has to say about his work over the years. I enjoyed this book, though it did wander a bit, so I imagine the other will be just as interesting or more so, with it probably focused more on the brain surgery he did for s I'd give this a 3.5 stars. I still have Marsh's first book, "Do No Harm," on my to-read list, but I had the opportunity to read this book first, thanks to getting an ARC from NetGalley. I think now I’ll push that one up closer to the top of my read-next list and see what else Marsh has to say about his work over the years. I enjoyed this book, though it did wander a bit, so I imagine the other will be just as interesting or more so, with it probably focused more on the brain surgery he did for so many years. Marsh has some interesting insights on life, death/dying and medical practice, and his take on the British National Health Service is valuable as those of us who live in the U.S. still debate how best to provide health care to our citizens.*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Sreeram
    January 1, 1970
    "I do not believe in an afterlife. I am a neurosurgeon. I know that everything I am, everything I think and feel, consciously or unconsciously, is the electrochemical activity of my billions of brain cells, joined together with a near-infinite number of synapses (or however many of them are left as I get older). When my brain dies, ‘I’ will die. ‘I’ am a transient electrochemical dance, made of myriad bits of information; and information, as the physicists tell us, is physical."When a brain surg "I do not believe in an afterlife. I am a neurosurgeon. I know that everything I am, everything I think and feel, consciously or unconsciously, is the electrochemical activity of my billions of brain cells, joined together with a near-infinite number of synapses (or however many of them are left as I get older). When my brain dies, ‘I’ will die. ‘I’ am a transient electrochemical dance, made of myriad bits of information; and information, as the physicists tell us, is physical."When a brain surgeon gives you the view from his window and shows uncommon compassion and self awareness in his writing and observations of the world, it'd be a crime not to read what he has to say. This is an important book especially the last two chapters where the author discusses the future of medicine, euthanasia and what challenges await us in our dotage.
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  • Biblio Files
    January 1, 1970
    This was a Goodreads Giveaway book. I read Henry Marsh's previous book, Do No Harm, and found it fascinating, about his career as a brain surgeon in Britain. It was unlike some other medical memoirs I've read in that Marsh is especially honest about mistakes and their consequences. In Admisssions (an excellent title with its double meaning), Marsh is even more forthcoming about his doubts and mistakes and his fears for the future. In fact, I found it unsettling that he seemed to be not only resi This was a Goodreads Giveaway book. I read Henry Marsh's previous book, Do No Harm, and found it fascinating, about his career as a brain surgeon in Britain. It was unlike some other medical memoirs I've read in that Marsh is especially honest about mistakes and their consequences. In Admisssions (an excellent title with its double meaning), Marsh is even more forthcoming about his doubts and mistakes and his fears for the future. In fact, I found it unsettling that he seemed to be not only resigned to the possibility of getting dementia, but convinced that it is his fate. The failures in his career seem to have crowded out the successes of his career in this book, and the result is a rather downbeat memoir, but still fascinating.
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  • Patricia
    January 1, 1970
    At first I did not know what to think of this book but the more I read, the more I did not want to put it down. It opened my eyes to so many things and places. Living in the United States we do not have socialized medicine and the author, who is an English surgeon discusses the pros and cons of both systems. Also he recounts his stories of working in different countries which is an eye opener as well.Some parts when he details the brain surgeries, I found a little hard to read at first but then At first I did not know what to think of this book but the more I read, the more I did not want to put it down. It opened my eyes to so many things and places. Living in the United States we do not have socialized medicine and the author, who is an English surgeon discusses the pros and cons of both systems. Also he recounts his stories of working in different countries which is an eye opener as well.Some parts when he details the brain surgeries, I found a little hard to read at first but then I really wanted to learn about the different parts of our amazing brain. As I said it is an eye opener and I would say a must read because the author writes about different subjects which really make you think.
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  • Jo Highton
    January 1, 1970
    I found this as gripping as Do No Harm. This second book is posssibly more even more reflective and questioning about the ethics of medicine. The setting extends now to Nepal, as well as London and Ukraine. As retirement beckons, the author looks back across his career, his childhood, describes in interesting detail something of his parents lives and characters. He also frequently looks ahead to the unknown future, buying a rundown Oxfordshire canal-side cottage as a renovation project. He tackl I found this as gripping as Do No Harm. This second book is posssibly more even more reflective and questioning about the ethics of medicine. The setting extends now to Nepal, as well as London and Ukraine. As retirement beckons, the author looks back across his career, his childhood, describes in interesting detail something of his parents lives and characters. He also frequently looks ahead to the unknown future, buying a rundown Oxfordshire canal-side cottage as a renovation project. He tackles difficult topics so frankly - mistakes made, difficulties with colleagues, how to cope with approaching old age and worries that maybe we all have about illness and death. I read it very quickly and found it somehow both disturbing and comforting.
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  • Jude
    January 1, 1970
    This is the second book written by Henry Marsh t I have read this year, and like the first book I found it equally gripping and disturbing to read.Marsh's memories of operations in Nepal, Britain and the Ukraine are recounted with brutal, almost scalding, honesty; he appears as eager to lay out his own flaws to our scrutiny as the shortcomings of the NHS system he resigned from in a rage, or the corruption of the Russian medical system. The complexity of brain surgery and the high stakes nature This is the second book written by Henry Marsh t I have read this year, and like the first book I found it equally gripping and disturbing to read.Marsh's memories of operations in Nepal, Britain and the Ukraine are recounted with brutal, almost scalding, honesty; he appears as eager to lay out his own flaws to our scrutiny as the shortcomings of the NHS system he resigned from in a rage, or the corruption of the Russian medical system. The complexity of brain surgery and the high stakes nature of this daily work make for very compelling reading and I thought it should be required for all those training in medical degrees or working in hospitals. I'd highly recommend this book, as much as his first one, "Do No Harm".
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  • Юлія Корицька-Голуб
    January 1, 1970
    "Ні сонце, ані смерть" спонукає сповільнитись і заглибитись. Порівняно з першою книжкою, тут більше непевності - щодо вміння наповнити час після завершення практики, стосунків з близькими, які вже відійшли, складністю вибору між гідною смертю і безпідставною надією на життя будь-якою ціною. У форматі щоденника з однаковою увагою читається про шліфування дубового столика для доньки автора, погрози лікарям з невтішними новинами у Непалі та переконливі приклади доцільності евтаназії. Знову рефреном "Ні сонце, ані смерть" спонукає сповільнитись і заглибитись. Порівняно з першою книжкою, тут більше непевності - щодо вміння наповнити час після завершення практики, стосунків з близькими, які вже відійшли, складністю вибору між гідною смертю і безпідставною надією на життя будь-якою ціною. У форматі щоденника з однаковою увагою читається про шліфування дубового столика для доньки автора, погрози лікарям з невтішними новинами у Непалі та переконливі приклади доцільності евтаназії. Знову рефреном звучить думка про те, що влада псує. І відповідальність лікаря за перспективу пацієнта і його рідних після операції завжди підважується марнославством і спокусою поповнення банківського рахунку. Ще тут є враження про Майдан, Київ та Україну.
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