N H Ulrich, D L K
decision making process, influence of profession into private life, learning beyond, neurosurgery in comics, professional relationships, traumatic brain injury
N H Ulrich, D L K. Dr. Tenma And His Monster; Young Idealistic Neurosurgeon. The Internet Journal of Neurosurgery. 2013 Volume 9 Number 1.
“Monster” by Naoki Urasawa is an 18-volume comic book (http://monster.viz.com), the story of Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a young and idealistic Japanese neurosurgeon working at the Eisler-Memorial Hospital in Düsseldorf, Germany in 1986. Dr. Tenma is a highly talented surgeon and his world seems to be open for a great career. A promotion is in the offering, the support of the hospital’s director Heinemann and the director’s daughter as
“Monster” by Naoki Urasawa is an 18-volume comic book (http://monster.viz.com), the story of Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a young and idealistic Japanese neurosurgeon working at the Eisler-Memorial Hospital in Düsseldorf, Germany in 1986. Dr. Tenma is a highly talented surgeon and his world seems to be open for a great career. A promotion is in the offering, the support of the hospital’s director Heinemann and the director’s daughter as a fiancé.
Among Dr. Tenmas adventures he is confronted with serious brain injuries and as a surgeon he finds himself in challenging situations. One night being on call Dr. Tenma risks his career and engagement to save the life of a young boy named Johan. Johan was shot into the head and Dr. Tenma wants to save the little boy. While performing surgery on the young boy the mayor of Düsseldorf is brought into the hospital with a serious brain-haemorrhage. Dr. Tenma sacrifices his medical career when he chooses to operate on the young boy, instead of the important politician. Dr. Tenma turns down the order of his director to switch cases and to perform surgery on the mayor first. Unfortunately the mayor dies, the young boy survives. From that night Dr. Tenmas career turns into the different. He loses his social standing and his engagement with the director’s fiancé is resolved. Mysteriously, Johan disappears after the director and another doctor are murdered.
Nine years later, Dr. Tenma now being Chief of Neurosurgery at Eisler Memorial, finds his patient, a criminal, held at gunpoint by a man that reveals to be the young boy Johan. Johan shots the patient and walks of into the night. Tenma is too shocked to stop him. Troubled by guilt, he undertakes to find Johan and end the life of this "Monster" he feels responsible for creating. The chase of the “Monster” through Europe begins. Dr. Tenma attempts to find more information about Johan’s roots. Soon Tenma discovers that Johan’s sister Nina is living a happy life as the adopted daughter of two caring parents. Dr. Tenma finds Nina on her birthday and keeps her away from Johan. Unfortunately, Dr. Tenma is too late to stop Johan from murdering Nina’s foster parents. On the way Dr. Tenma discovers Johan’s background. A secret orphanage, in former East Germany, attempted to create perfect soldiers through psychological reprogramming. Dr. Tenma also discovers the extent of the atrocities committed by this "monster" Johan, and vows to fix the mistake he made by saving the young boys life 9 years ago. Dr. Tenmas moral pursuit wants to bring Johan to justice.
This “children-book” contains assassins, a travel through German Nazi history, eastern European secret services, a bitter ex fiancé with a drinking problem and much more. “Monster” illustrates the learning process of young surgeons that face themselves in their own “decision-making learning processes” when starting their own careers.
Like Dr. Tenma in “Monster”, young residents who are driven and motivated by idealistic motives find themselves in situations, where the “right decision” is not the best choice for career purposes. A process every young surgeon has to face one day.
For those of you, who like comic books and are not afraid of feeling being reflected in the adventures of Dr. Tenma, “Monster” is for you.