Another Day in the Frontal Lobe

Another Day in the Frontal Lobe

A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside

Book - 2006
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Katrina Firlik is a neurosurgeon, one of only two hundred or so women among the alpha males who dominate this high-pressure, high-prestige medical specialty. She is also a superbly gifted writer-witty, insightful, at once deeply humane and refreshingly wry. In Another Day in the Frontal Lobe, Dr. Firlik draws on this rare combination to create a neurosurgeon's Kitchen Confidential-a unique insider's memoir of a fascinating profession.

Neurosurgeons are renowned for their big egos and aggressive self-confidence, and Dr. Firlik confirms that timidity is indeed rare in the field. "They're the kids who never lost at musical chairs," she writes. A brain surgeon is not only a highly trained scientist and clinician but also a mechanic who of necessity develops an intimate, hands-on familiarity with the gray matter inside our skulls. It's the balance between cutting-edge medical technology and manual dexterity, between instinct and expertise, that Firlik finds so appealing-and so difficult to master.

Firlik recounts how her background as a surgeon's daughter with a strong stomach and a keen interest in the brain led her to this rarefied specialty, and she describes her challenging, atypical trek from medical student to fully qualified surgeon. Among Firlik's more memorable cases: a young roofer who walked into the hospital with a three-inch-long barbed nail driven into his forehead, the result of an accident with his partner's nail gun, and a sweet little seven-year-old boy whose untreated earache had become a raging, potentially fatal infection of the brain lining.

From OR theatrics to thorny ethical questions, from the surprisingly primitive tools in a neurosurgeon's kit to glimpses of future techniques like the "brain lift," Firlik cracks open medicine's most prestigious and secretive specialty. Candid, smart, clear-eyed, and unfailingly engaging, Another Day in the Frontal Lobe is a mesmerizing behind-the-scenes glimpse into a world of incredible competition and incalculable rewards.


From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2006
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780812973402
9781400063208
1400063205
Branch Call Number: 617.48 FIR NVD

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mfdewan
Oct 31, 2017

The below critique of this book is absolutely right-on.
Also, in my opinion, the author's envy of large incomes motivates her career change at the end of the book. Still - a very informative memoir.

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BloomFree
Apr 04, 2014

Dr Firlik is a likeable, honest and very easy to read writer. To be a neurosurgeon, one has to have above-average confidence and Dr Firlik illustrates a case or two of "over-confidence" -- which is the curse of anyone who is so. I learned new information after reading this book and felt for the most part that I understood her unique perspective. At the end of the book though I felt she became more and more detached and I began to wonder where she was. A lot of books are like this -- great beginnings and ambiguous or lukewarm endings. Those who are interested in pursuing a career in this field will gather useful information on the one-way arduous path to be a neuro-surgeon.

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BloomFree
Apr 04, 2014

BloomFree thinks this title is suitable for 19 years and over

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