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“The surgical interventions in these pages are dizzying, but the fact that Jay Wellons can write as well as he can operate provides a whole other level of amazement.”—Ann Patchett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth
“A powerful and moving account of the intense joys and sorrows of being a pediatric neurosurgeon.”—Henry Marsh, New York Times bestselling author of Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New Yorker, Publishers Weekly
Tumors, injuries, ruptured vascular 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 in 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 surgical training, and true stories of what it’s like to treat the brave children he meets on the threshold between life and death. From the little boy who arrived at the hospital near death from a gunshot wound to the head, to the eight-year-old whose shredded nerves were repaired using suture as fine as human hair, to the brave mother-to-be undergoing fetal spinal cord surgery, 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.
About the Author
Jay Wellons, MD, MSPH, is a professor in the departments of neurological surgery, pediatrics, plastic surgery, radiology, and radiological sciences at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He holds the Cal Turner Chair, is the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and is the medical director for the Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids (SOCKs), which he co-founded. He has written op-eds for The New York Times. Jay Wellons lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his family.
“All That Moves Us tells the story of lives that have been shattered and reassembled. The surgical interventions in these pages are dizzying, but the fact that Jay Wellons can write as well as he can operate provides a whole other level of amazement. This is a wondrous and deeply moving book.”—Ann Patchett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth
“As a surgeon, Jay Wellons has long healed with his hands. What this engaging and illuminating book shows us is how important the heart is in the life and work of a doctor charged with the sacred—even staggering—task of operating on the brains of children. At once reflective and searching, Wellons’s stories from the journey give us hope that light can emerge from even the darkest of hours.”—Jon Meacham, #1 New York Times bestselling author of His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope
“Reading All That Moves Us feels like watching a full season of your favorite medical drama, complete with harrowing surgical scenes and meaningful reflections within each episode. In bearing witness to some of life’s most profound moments, Jay Wellons has written an extraordinarily memorable book.”—Mary Laura Philpott, author of Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives
“Breathtaking . . . Medical memoirs don’t come much better than this.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A compelling look into the life of a pediatric neurosurgeon . . . a dramatic narrative inside and outside the operating room.” —Kirkus Reviews