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T J Hodgetts, C Porter. (Pp 94; £30.00). BMJ Books, London, 2002. ISBN 0-7279-1614-9
This book will become an essential companion to all those individuals, doctors, and paramedics, who are involved in the immediate management of a major incident at scene. To those not directly involved it provides a valuable insight into its basic theory.
Presented in a high quality loose leaf binder, the pages are laminated and all sections are colour coded, it is the authors’ intention that the book is taken to and used at the scene of an incident. As clearly stated on the front cover this is an “aide memoire” and therefore there is little in the way of explanation, some prior knowledge of major incident management is therefore required. The book is written in a clear, didactic style with the salient points arranged in “bullet point” fashion. The diagrams are colourful, clear, and informative although several of the flow charts appeared a little too busy.
The sections follow in logical order from the actions of the first ambulance crew on scene, the setting up of command centres, modes of communication and terminology, triage and treatment, and finally scene evacuation. Much of the written information is augmented by the clever use of symbols placed in the adjacent margin thus making the information rapidly accessible. The final two sections of the book provide action cards for all ambulance and medical personnel designed to be distributed at scene, again this is given in a clear, succinct fashion with diagrams illustrating the hierarchy of command.
Clearly this book is aimed at the ambulance service and those doctors acting as medical incident officers and although does not have an impact directly on a hospital’s major incident procedure, it is useful in understanding what happens before the patient’s arrival at hospital.
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