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[Perspectives] Admissions and exits

He is vain, angry, self-important, and has sagging, elderly buttocks: Henry Marsh tells us this about himself in his new book Admissions: A Life In Brain Surgery—honest to the point of brutal. This is the life and times of a famous neurosurgeon, entering retirement, who at once seems to be delighted by his renown but also despises it. Marsh names people that he has bitterly fallen out with; shamefully documents how he pulled the nose of a nurse over a dispute about a nasogastric tube; describes his own treatment by a psychiatrist; spells out his guilty mistakes in operating; and describes how, if terminally ill, he would regard palliative care specialists as professionals who “derive their own sense of meaning and purpose from my suffering”.

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