William Leith

The thrill of cutting into a human brain

A review of Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery. Cutting people’s heads open, it turns out, really does your head in

[Getty Images/Shutterstock/iStock/Alamy]

In the first sentence of the first chapter of this book, Henry Marsh, a consultant brain surgeon, says, ‘I often cut into the brain and it is something I hate doing.’

What a compelling start! Marsh takes us through an operation. First, he looks at a scan. A middle-aged man has a tumour of the pineal gland, which means a very tricky operation.

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