Friday, January 9, 2009

A curious character

These holidays I happened upon a great character, which I'm hoping one day might be the protagonist of a story/novel I write.

I don't think I have the stamina or skill to be a novel writer yet, but I'd love to try one day.
Last week I was watching a documentary called "Blood and Guts: The history of Surgery" - yeah I know gross title... The episode focused on the development of brain surgery. One of the people it featured was Harvey Cushing, who's considered one of the fathers of modern brain surgery. He conducted surgery on people back in the late 1800's/early 1900's when it was extremely risky and the techniques were very rudimentary (think lobotomy).

It's not his professional development i'm interested in though, but rather his personality- most notably his obsession with the brain, and the toll that took on every other aspect of his life. By all accounts he was consumed with his work, to the extent that when he heard his son had died in a car crash, he didn't cancel surgery that day.

He also put together an eerily large collection of tumour-ridden brains, photographs and documents of his patients which now resides at the Yale School of Medicine.

I'd like to get my hands on a biography, but apparently it's 700+ pages long! Yikes. Anyway, I'm enjoying the research I can do even just through the internet.

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