Monday, April 27, 2009

Brain Surgeon by Keith Black, MD with Arnold Mann

Brain Surgeon: a Doctor's Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles by Keith Black, MD with Arnold Mann

A very impressive book, almost autobiographical in nature, with real life cases and the inspiration arising from them. Dr. Black has let the reader in on how the patients respond to their struggles with optimism and faith, and how much this can affect the outcome of surgery and treatment. His examples and descriptions of the types of tumors, surgeries, and treatments are fascinating. He shows a profound connection with his patients which I found exceptional. The book also goes into how patient response and variations (“odd observations”) often help the surgeons to discover new possibilities in their research into brain tumors, malignant or benign. Perhaps one of the most intriguing parts of the book to me, is his outlook on the use of alternative medicine working alongside the synthetic drug therapies normally used (chemotherapy), citing Chinese medicine, homeopathy and Indian medicine among others.

Apart from the case stories, Dr. Black delves into his own background, and brings the reader in touch with the realities of trying to achieve his goals as a black man in a still mostly segregated era; the struggles, his extremely high rate of academic achievement notwithstanding, the faith that propels him, and the parents who raised him to believe in himself. Dr. Keith Black is, as of this writing, “ internationally renowned neurosurgeon and scientist...”, “...chairman of the department of neurosurgery and director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.”*

The third main theme involves the research this prestigious surgeon takes a major role in, such as how research evolves, where ideas come from, and how the “odd observation” can contribute to the pursuit of better methods of treatment. Overall, I definitely recommend this book. I found it to be absorbing, upbeat, inspiring and educational.

*Quotes from the book.


Anonymous said...

Personally after having a Craniotomy…I had my Amydiglea, hippocampus, and right temporal removed in 2001….due to a growth and seizure….I lost a 6 figure job (now totally disabled), I lossed my fiancee (still single at 46) , unable to handle stress, social interactions,etc. Most of my family disowned m due to my drastically change personality….
Next time…Forget it…pull the sheets over my head and let me drift away in a happy Vicodine place of mind…
Life sucks after surgery….NEVER MORE

nightreader said...

I am so sorry to hear of your terrible results from your surgery. I can see it's been very difficult for you. May you find a better future and some assistance toward that future. This was a very major surgery, and though I lack any professional education myself, something does not sound right about the procedure. I can see you must have had a very large or tangled growth. God bless you and may better things come in the future.