Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Do No Harm

by Henry Marsh

You are invited to spend some time with Mr. Marsh, an eloquent neurosurgeon who escorts us into his operating theater, his parent's home as his mother lies dying, interminable maddening administrative meetings in his NHS hospital and to accompany him to Ukraine where he has volunteered as a surgeon for over 15 years. You'll share his triumphs and suffer the sadness and humiliation of his mistakes and failures.  His war stories are captivating; as are his anecdotes about his family, his education and his jousting with the bureaucracy of the English National Health System (the NHS).  Brief book review and large number of excerpts on OJCPCD.

A fine documentary, The English Surgeon, profiled Henry Marsh (you will need to scroll down if you check the link).

Friday, July 10, 2015

In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts

This is from the author, Gabor Mate:

I've written In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts because I see addiction as one of the most misunderstood phenomena in our society. People--including many people who should know better, such as doctors and policy makers--believe it to be a matter of individual choice or, at best, a medical disease. It is both simpler and more complex than that.

Addiction, or the capacity to become addicted, is very close to the core of the human experience. That is why almost anything can become addictive, from seemingly healthy activities such as eating or exercising to abusing drugs intended for healing. The issue is not the external target but our internal relationship to it. 

Addictions, for the most part, develop in a compulsive attempt to ease one’s pain or distress in the world. Given the amount of pain and dissatisfaction that human life engenders, many of us are driven to find solace in external things. The more we suffer, and the earlier in life we suffer, the more we are prone to become addicted.