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, “...an 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.