The New York Times has an excellent profile of British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh that manages to be an indiscreet but humane look at the medic now famous for his autobiography Do No Harm
It follows Marsh as he operates with colleagues in Albania and recounts both his work and personal style. It is written by the Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgård and reads like downbeat gonzo journalism that hits some perfect notes along the way.
Could Marsh, this brilliant neurosurgeon, be troubled by a constant need to call attention to himself? Weren’t his extraordinary qualities, so obvious to everyone around him, fixed securely in his own image of himself?
I thought of what he said the night before, about keeping the wolf from the door. I had thought he meant something big. But perhaps, to the contrary, it was something very small?
I looked at him, there at the end of the table, seated at the place of honor, his strong fingers distractedly holding the stem of his wineglass as he talked, the round spectacles in his round, lined face, the lively eyes, which, as soon as he stopped talking, turned mournful.
I would also recommend an interview with Marsh in this week’s edition of BBC Hardtalk where he expands beyond his views on brain surgery to discuss healthcare in general. Well worth a listen.
Link to NYT article ‘The Terrible Beauty of Brain Surgery’
Link to stream / podcast of BBC interview.