Medical ethics

A dying doctor’s last words

Facing up to the prospect of one’s own mortality is always jarring; but when you’ve spent your life trying, and sometimes failing, to save others from a terrible death, it carries the knowledge that the journey may be more traumatic than the fear or grief of the end. These are the concerns with which Henry Marsh, the eminent neurosurgeon and author, grapples after his own diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer more than a year ago. He believes this book will be his last and, unsurprisingly, he seems to be cramming everything into it. It makes for a discursive read and jumps about chronologically and topically, as if he wants to