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The Gift of Pain by Paul Brand

The Gift of Pain

by Paul Brand

Other authors: Philip Yancey

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411740,219 (4.3)1
A WORLD WITHOUT PAIN?Can such a place exist? It not only can--it does. But it's no utopia. It's a colony for leprosy patients: a world where people literally feel no pain, and reap horrifying consequences.His work with leprosy patients in India and the United States convinced Dr. Paul Brand that pain truly is one of God's great gifts to us. In this inspiring story of his fifty-year career as a healer, Dr. Brand probes the mystery of pain and reveals its importance. As an indicator that lets us know something is wrong, pain has a value that becomes clearest in its absence.The Gift of Pain looks at what pain is and why we need it. Together, the renowned surgeon and award-winning writer Philip Yancey shed fresh light on a gift that none of us want and none of us can do without.… (more)



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I decided to read this book after watching a documentary about the Carville, Louisiana Leprosorium, at which Dr. Brand served for 20 years. Brand became a surgeon in London during World War II, and at its conclusion was detached to India to work with lepers to serve his time in the English military. Brand was the first doctor to recognize that much of the suffering of those with leprosy was not the result of “bad flesh,” but rather their inability to feel any pain. Without pain, they would unknowingly injure themselves and those wounds would become infected, often leading to amputations. Brand developed methods of hand surgery to release hands from their telltale “claw” in hopes of restoring patients to a meaningful life. He dedicated himself not just to the medical needs of his patients, but to other aspects of their lives impacted by disease, treating the whole patient rather than merely the physical effects of the disease. Dr. Brand has a deep-seated belief that pain is a gift that protects our bodies and on which most healthy people can reasonably rely, and everything in this book is the proof he offers of that belief.

The above description makes this book sound scientific and perhaps dull, but it is anything but. It is dense with stories of his childhood as the son of missionaries in the mountains of India, his training as a surgeon under admired mentors, and of course wonderful stories of his successes, and failures, with the lepers. While he refers to his Christian faith primarily at the end of this book, it’s not a significant part of this work as I expected, given it was co-authorized by Philip Yancey. I found this book interesting on many levels and would recommend it to anyone interested in absorbing non-fiction. ( )
  LeslieHurd | Jan 11, 2017 |
The main thesis is that pain is an invaluable part of our nervous system; to demonstrate this, the first part of the book charts much of Dr Brand's early life, and his calling into medicine and - eventually - working with a leprosy mission in India as an orthopedic surgeon. I had already read his biography, 'Ten Fingers for God', less than a year ago; so some of the material was not new to me.

Nonetheless, it was written in such an interesting way that I didn't skim; there were extra reminiscences and asides which, as ever, were fascinating to read. There were also several medical histories which I had not previously read about.

Excellent! Highly recommended. Christian input is low-key so likely to be of interest to anyone. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Fascinating and inspiring account of the life and work of Dr Paul Brand in working with lepers. Detailed explanation of the nervous system of the human body. Included interesting details of the London Blitz during WWII while in residency. Interesting application of Dr Brands healing techniques for diabetics.
  MtnGoat | Jan 16, 2015 |
Dr. Brand has a unique perspective on pain. After having treated thousands of leprosy patients who do not feel pain, he has seen first hand the tremendous blessing that it is. Dr. Brand tells us of his own life story and experiences with pain, and as he does the reader encounters all kinds of fascinating facts and stories and learns how a proper perspective on pain can help the sufferer work with it instead of fighting it. Definitely a great read if you like medical topics, books from a Christian perspective, or just fascinating life stories. ( )
  debs4jc | Feb 22, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Brandprimary authorall editionscalculated
Yancey, Philipsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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An edition of this book was published by Zondervan.

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