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Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside


Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside Cover

ISBN13: 9780812973402
ISBN10: 0812973402
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 neurosurgeons Kitchen Confidential-a unique insiders 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. “Theyre 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. Its 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 surgeons 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 Firliks 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 partners 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 neurosurgeons kit to glimpses of future techniques like the “brain lift,” Firlik cracks open medicines 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.


This compelling tell-all by a brilliant young doctor cracks open the demanding, fascinating world of brain surgery, doing for the neurosurgeon what "Kitchen Confidential" has done for the professional chef.

About the Author

Katrina Firlik was the first woman admitted to the neurosurgery residency program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the largest-and one of the most prestigious-neurosurgery programs in the country. She is now a private practitioner in Greenwich, Connecticut, and a clinical assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine. She lives in New Canaan, Connecticut, with her husband, a neurosurgeon turned venture capitalist. Visit her online at www.katrinafirlik.com

From the Hardcover edition.

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Shoshana, November 24, 2007 (view all comments by Shoshana)
A well-written and easy to follow account of Firlik's training as a neurosurgeon (she was the first woman admitted to her neurosurgery residency). The narrative is more of a gloss plus clinical highlights than a more in-depth account lof her training; it is not especially psychological, though she does highlight the developmental turning points associated with the residency. There is some material, but not much, about the relationships between surgeons (either specific people or categorical groups), but a reasonable amount about what working with different patients has meant to her. Firlik tells a good neurology tale, and I would have liked more of them. Read with "Working in a Very Small Place: The Making of a Neurosurgeon" for another neurosurgery narrative, with "Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science" for another general surgical training narrative, and with "The Scalpel and the Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing" and "Forged by the Knife: The Experience of Surgical Residency from the Perspective of a Woman of Color" for women surgeons' accounts with the added aspect of culture and ethnicity.
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Product Details

Firlik, Katrina
Random House Trade
Personal Memoirs
Neurology - General
Medical - General
Surgeons -- United States.
Neurosurgeons - United States
Medical - Physicians
Health and Medicine-Medical Specialties
Surgery - Neurosurgery
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 x 5.17 x 0.63 in 0.5 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Medical
Biography » Women
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Brain
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Neurologic Illness
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memory and Thinking Skills
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General

Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside Used Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages Random House Trade - English 9780812973402 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This compelling tell-all by a brilliant young doctor cracks open the demanding, fascinating world of brain surgery, doing for the neurosurgeon what "Kitchen Confidential" has done for the professional chef.
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