Views & Reviews Medical Classic

When the air hits your brain

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 19 June 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1441
  1. Chris Barrett, specialist registrar in neurosurgery, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne
  1. chris.barrett{at}

Frank Vertosick Jr describes his personal voyage from eager medical student to board certified neurosurgeon. By turns comic and tragic, this memoir has similarities with Samuel Shem’s The House of God and is a must read for neurosurgeons but also of interest to most clinicians. Dr Vertosick provides, from an American perspective, a keen insight into a specialty which is often regarded with suspicion by other doctors. He did not initially intend to become a neurosurgeon, but “strayed too close to a dangerously seductive profession and became stuck for good like a fly in a spider’s web.”

On …

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