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Victor Horsley: The World's First Neurosurgeon and His Conscience

Victor Horsley: The World's First Neurosurgeon and His Conscience

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Sir Victor Horsley (1857-1916) was a brilliant and pioneering neurosurgeon who also shaped the direction of clinical medicine through his work with the British Medical Association, Medical Defence Union, and General Medical Council. Before the nervous system could be imaged, Horsley operated successfully on the brain and spinal cord, and performed palliative procedures on patients dying from brain tumours. Nevertheless, he became a social pariah due to his support for nationalised health insurance, child welfare and womens rights, amongst other causes. In this fascinating biography, leading neurologist Dr Michael J. Aminoff places Horsleys life and work in the context of the society in which he lived and explores his influence on the development of neurosurgery and social policies still in effect. The many underlying themes to the book include the interplay of science and politics, and the responsibility of physicians to themselves and for the welfare of society.
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  • Preface; 1. Early days; 2. The other side of Gower streets; 3. At the Brown; 4. Dividing the indivisible: The localization of cortical functions; 5. The making of a specialty; 6. The grammar of neurosurgery: technical underpinnings; 7. The neurosurgery of specific disorders; 8. Measures of the man; 9. The politics of protection; 10. Not so trivial pursuits: the slide into politics; 11. Antivivisectionist claims and clamor; 12. Bitter tears: Horsley and the suffragist movement; 13. Last orders: the temperance movement; 14. Syphilis and the public health; 15. A surgeon goes to war; 16. Aftermaths and appraisals; Appendix 1: Horsleys procedure for cranial surgery; Appendix 2: Appointments, honors, and awards; Appendix 3: Victor Horsleys professional publications; Appendix 4: Sir Victor Horsleys correspondence with the times of London.
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