The Current

Neurosurgeon Henry Marsh reflects on a career probing brains

Henry Marsh's long career as a neurosurgeon has only increased his awe of the human brain. But he's also candid about the danger involved, and about the mistakes he's made that had devastating consequences. Neurology, he says, is not a precise science and doctors aren't as in control as we want to believe.
"You have moments of great triumph but the triumphs are only triumphant because you have terrible failures" - Dr. Henry Marsh wants patients to know what it's really like to operate on their brains. (St. Martin’s Press)

I once was operating on the visual area of somebody's brain, that's at the back, and he was watching his own brain on the monitor.But it meant the visual cortex was looking at itself.- Dr. Henry Marsh

Every doctor takes an oath to "Do No Harm."

But very few of them ever wield their scalpels under our scalps. That territory is reserved for the neurosurgeons, who undertake some of the most daunting, risky, and critical operations imaginable on our brains.

It's an area of medicine that's not that well understood, and not just because brain surgeons rarely take starring roles in TV medical dramas.... But because the brain remains such a mysterious organ.

Dr. Henry Marsh has spent a career operating on it and he's published a memoir called "Do No Harm." He joined us  from our London, England studio. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath.