All That Moves Us

All That Moves Us Life Lessons from a Pediatric Neurosurgeon

Jay Wellons2022
In riveting accounts of medical failure and triumph, a pediatric neurosurgeon recounts pivotal moments from his life and career—and what his brave young patients have taught him about the meaning of life and our struggle to live it. Tumors, injuries, ruptured blood vessel malformations—there is almost no such thing as a non-urgent brain surgery when it comes to kids. For a pediatric neurosurgeon working in the medical minefield of the brain—in which a single millimeter in every direction governs something that makes us essentially human—every day presents the challenge, and the opportunity, to give a new lease on life to a child for whom nothing is yet fully determined and all possibilities still exist. In All That Moves Us, Dr. Jay Wellons pulls back the curtain to reveal the profoundly moving triumphs, haunting complications, and harrowing close calls that characterize the life of a pediatric neurosurgeon, bringing the high-stakes drama of the operating room to life with astonishing candor and honest compassion. Reflecting on lessons learned over twenty-five years and thousands of operations completed on some of the most vulnerable and precious among us, Wellons recounts with gripping detail the moments that have shaped him as a doctor, as a parent, and as the only hope for countless patients whose young lives are in his hands. Wellons shares scenes of his early days as the son of a military pilot, the years of grueling training, and true stories of what it's like to treat the brave children he meets on the threshold of life and death. From the little boy who arrived in Wellons' operating room with a gunshot wound to the head, to repairing the shredded nerves of a newborn using suture as fine as human hair, to the aftermath of a challenging brain tumor resection in a teenage cheerleader, and the intensity of operating on the fetal spinal cord in the womb, All That Moves Us is an unforgettable portrait of the countless human dramas that take place in a busy modern children’s hospital—and a meditation on the marvel of life as seen from under the white-hot lights of the operating room.
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