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When the Air Hits Your Brain


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About the Author

Frank Vertosick Jr., MD, is the author of Why We Hurt and When the Air Hits Your Brain. He retired from surgery due to Parkinson's disease in 2002, but he still treats office patients in Washington, Pennsylvania.


Instead of offering a collection of bizarre medical cases, brain surgeon Vertosick presents a set of harrowing clinical tales that highlight neurosurgery as risky, messy and often frustrating. The result is a riveting report that shatters the mystique of the brain surgeon as a wizard of technical prowess. Many of the patients profiled here die-an outcome not representative of neurosurgery at large, the author reassures us. The cases are drawn from Vertosick's six years of internship and residency. Among the most memorable are Andy, a Down's syndrome sufferer with multiple head and neck abnormalities who chose euthanasia over a life imprisoned in bed. We also meet Sarah, a pregnant homemaker with a malignant brain tumor who refuses radiotherapy and a therapeutic abortion. Vertosick is associate chief of neurosurgery at Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh. (Feb.)

"Dramatic, moving, and utterly fascinating." -- New York Times Book Review "Riveting." -- Publishers Weekly

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