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Escape Artist
12-15-2010, 04:18 AM
I have a character who is a neurosurgeon and as I'm writing a book from his perspective, I want to include different bits and aspects of his job in the book. Anyone know of a good non-fiction book to read about the field of neurosurgery that would give details as to what all a neurosurgeon does as well as what their typical day would be like? Thanks!

Mecegirl
12-15-2010, 05:41 AM
You should just go to your library.

gothicangel
12-15-2010, 12:56 PM
I have a character who is a neurosurgeon and as I'm writing a book from his perspective, I want to include different bits and aspects of his job in the book. Anyone know of a good non-fiction book to read about the field of neurosurgery that would give details as to what all a neurosurgeon does as well as what their typical day would be like? Thanks!

Have you got a local University library?

I would recommend the local careers service as well.

PinkAmy
12-15-2010, 11:22 PM
Is there a medical school in your area? You could probably interview a student or intern and get some valuable info.

GradyHendrix
12-16-2010, 01:26 AM
The problem is that I imagine medical texts about neurosurgery aren't going to do you much good, and that's mostly what you'll find in the library. I would guess that you're looking for something that will give you a taste of a neurosurgeon's life.

I find blogs are more useful than books because you get a better idea of what people who engage in different professions sound like, the things they obsess about, what makes them excited and so on. In my opinion, books are often TOO professionally edited to give you the feel of what these folks think about.

Try Living the Dream (http://lesliehutchins.blogspot.com/) by a neurosurgery resident in Virginia, or George Samandouras's blog (http://georgesamandouras.wordpress.com/) (he's the author of HANDBOOK OF NEUROSURGERY), or the UCLA neurosurgery blog (http://neurosurgery.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=45) that has a lot of patient testimonials about their procedures. For the best places to hear neurosurgeons engage in the kind of geekery and shop talk that gets their blood racing, try Neurosurgery Info (http://neurosurgeryinfo.blogspot.com/) or the frankly named Neurosurgery Blog (http://neurosurgeryblog.com/) for a more technical take on new procedures in neurosurgery.

That's all very day-to-day, nuts and bolts stuff. To get an idea of the kind of big, romantic ideas, cases, and attitudes towards neurosurgery that got folks into the field in the first place, I'd suggest any of Oliver Sacks's books about medicine (not his memoirs, however). These are the kinds of sexy case studies and stories that often seduce people into neurology in the first place. There's also the somewhat dry, but groundbreaking MAN WITH THE SHATTERED WORLD by Aleksandr R. Luria.

In terms of bigger medical issues, check out the articles by Atul Gawande on his website (http://gawande.com/). He's the New Yorker's staff writer who's an MD and who also does most of their medical stories and I think his stuff is pretty spot-on.

Hope that helps!

dangerousbill
12-16-2010, 08:06 AM
I have a character who is a neurosurgeon and as I'm writing a book from his perspective, I want to include different bits and aspects of his job in the book.


It sounds like it will be extraordinarily difficult.

I think that you'll need more than a book on neurosurgery. You'll need to collaborate with a real neurosurgeon, or at least have one on tap for frequent questions. There are too many critical details that don't fit into medical textbooks: What do they do if they have a terrible headache? Do they still go ahead and operate? Are they superstitious? Do they have a ritual they go through before an operation? What percentage of their time do they spend in the operating room? How do they feel if they lose a patient? Etc.

Many police departments have shadowing programs where writers and others with a material interest can ride along with police and watch how they work. Somehow, I don't think this would be practical for a neurosurgeon.

Escape Artist
12-17-2010, 08:20 PM
Thanks for all the input!

Grady, I bookmarked each and every one of those webpages and skimmed through them a bit. All look interesting and promising and I plan to read them more in detail. I'll have to toughen up my gut for the ones showing surgical pictures, but I'm up for it.

Dangerous Bill - I agree it's going to be a bit difficult, but the majority of the story is about his new relationship and all the ins and outs of it. There would be very little as far as the kind of nitty gritty details that I'd most likely not be able to find out without either being a neurosurgeon myself or else speaking with one in depth. This character likes a challenge, so maybe writing through his first-person perspective will give me the determination to get through it.

Thanks all!

leeblewb
12-17-2010, 11:16 PM
As a former nurse, I would have to say, unless it is imperative to your plot - change his specialty. There are many, very interesting medical specialties that would be much easier to research and get accurate information on than neurosurgery.

Escape Artist
12-21-2010, 10:52 PM
Funny, but the more I hear that this is going to be difficult to do, the more I want to do it. Yep, I'm definitely in this character's head right now. Anyway, anyone else have this problem - someone says "You can't write that because the market is over-saturated in that genre, or you can't write that because the research involved would be much too difficult" or any number of other reasons and then you think, "Oh yeah?" and do it anyway. I admit, I'm nothing if not stubborn. It's the damn Taurean in me, I suppose.

Cyberpunk cowgirl
12-27-2010, 02:18 AM
An interesting biography that might help is Another Day in the Frontal Lobe. Fast and easy read - won't give you the specifics, but it can show some sample cases and patient/hospital interaction.
http://www.amazon.com/Another-Day-Frontal-Lobe-Surgeon/dp/1400063205