Firlik, Katrina (Katrina S. Firlik)

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Firlik, Katrina (Katrina S. Firlik)


Married; husband's name Andrew (a neurosurgeon and venture capitalist); children: Annika. Education: Cornell University, graduated; Case Western Reserve University, M.D.


Home—New Canaan, CT. Office— Greenwich, CT.


Writer, physician, educator, and neurosurgeon. Yale University School of Medicine, clinical assistant professor. Neurosurgeon in private practice.


Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.


Writer and physician Katrina Firlik is a neurosurgeon in private practice in Greenwich, CT, and is a clinical assistant professor at the Yale University School of Medicine. A biographer on her home page noted that Firlik is unique for having been the first woman admitted to the neurosurgery program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the largest and one of the most prominent such programs in the United States.

Firlik is the author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside. In her book, Firlik delves into "how neurosurgeons think, how they develop their skills and what they encounter from day to day. It is a report on the profession, and an autobiography as well," commented William Grimes in the New York Times. Neurosurgeons, who are more apt to operate on a spine than a brain, "do manual labor, the hands-on work of opening the skull and cutting out tumors or cysts. Sometimes the work calls for exquisite delicacy. Other times, they're reaching for a mallet and chisel," Grimes noted. Firlik describes the day-to-day activities of a neurosurgeon and notes how even such a high-profile occupation has its own share of boring routine. She relates a few of her more notable cases, including one in which a man was accidentally shot with a nail gun, leaving the patient fully alert and pain-free but with a nail sticking deep into his brain. Some of her cases are emotionally painful, but in others, she practices her hard-won medical skills in order to solve a tangible problem and improve her patients' lives. "Neurosurgeons must be part mechanic and part scientist, she writes, balancing fearlessness with caution as they scoop out brain tumors, stabilize spines," and work to repair damage caused by accident, stroke, and injury, commented Sandra G. Boodman in the Washington Post.

"In a chatty and discursive style, she pulls back the curtain on what for most readers will be a radically unfamiliar world," remarked reviewer Faith McLellan in the Lancet. "As a guide to the winding hallways of a hospital, and the terrifying mysteries of the operating room, Dr. Firlik excels," observed Grimes.



Lancet, June 24, 2006, "What Lies Beneath," Faith McLellan, review of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside, p. 2052.

New York Times, May 12, 2006, William Grimes, "Maybe Brain Surgeons Aren't as Smart as You Thought," review of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe.

Washington Post, August 24, 2006, Sandra G. Boodman, "Bad Choice, Worse Choice," review of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe.


Katrina Firlik Home Page, (December 3, 2006).