How does it feel to hold someone’s life in your hands? What is it like to cut into someone else’s body? What is it like to stand by, powerless, while someone dies because of the incompetence of your seniors? How do you tell a beautiful young man who seems perfectly fit that he has only a few days left to live?
Gabriel Weston worked as a surgeon in the big-city hospitals of the twenty-first century; a woman in a world dominated by Alpha males. Her world was one of disease, suffering and extraordinary pressure where a certain moral ambiguity and clinical detachment were necessary tools for survival. Startling and honest, her account combines a fierce sense of human dignity with compassion and insight, illuminating scenes of life and death the rest of us rarely glimpse.
Oil and pencil
54.6 x 36.8 cm
Between 1947 and 1949, Barbara Hepworth produced around 80 works of surgeons at work in operating theatres. This period of activity followed the friendship that resulted from the hospitalisation of the daughter of Hepworth (and Ben Nicholson) with the surgeon who treated her at the Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital, Exeter: Norman Capener.
You can see a selection of these works here; and there is a good review of the paintings here – including a short video-clip – when they were exhibited together at the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield
What is it like to be a brain surgeon?
How does it feel to hold someone’s life in your hands, to cut into the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason?
How do you live with the consequences of performing a potentially life-saving operation when it all goes wrong?
DO NO HARM is an unforgettable insight into the countless human dramas that take place in a busy modern hospital. Above all, it is a lesson in the need for hope when faced with life’s most difficult decisions.