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Some surgeons may be psychopaths—but that’s no bad thing

Two new books explore how surgeons must be resolute and merciless

By Joanna Bourke   July 2017

Photo: CSA Images/PrintStock Collection

The Matter of the Heart: A History of the Heart in Eleven Operations by Thomas Morris (Bodley Head, £20)

Admissions: A Life in Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £16.99)

Stephanie and Goobers were born seven months apart. Goobers was a healthy female but Stephanie suffered from hypoplastic left-heart syndrome—in other words, the left-hand side of her heart was underdeveloped. Two weeks after Stephanie’s birth, at the Loma Linda Medical Centre in California in October 1984, Goobers was killed on her behalf. Goobers’s walnut-sized heart was…

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