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Edited by P Cameron, G Jelinek, A-M Kelly, L Murray, J Heyworth. (Pp 757; £39.95). Churchill Livingstone, 2000. ISBN 0-443-06280-3.
This is a major new textbook of emergency medicine first published in 2000.
The contributors read like a “Who's who” of emergency medicine in Australasia—with a few contributions from North America and UK.
The book is primarily aimed at the emergency medicine trainee—although the wide authorship has allowed the text to become a “snap shot” of current Australasian emergency medicine practice.
The editorial board has adopted a consensus style and approach to the material published. Accordingly extreme views and minority opinion have been excluded. Obviously in order to keep the book to a manageable size certain topics have been kept brief on the premise that these areas are already covered in established texts. The management of trauma is the area most noticeably thin and this is acknowledged by the editors in the preface. The result is a comprehensive textbook covering most areas of current emergency medicine practice with recent references for further reading
The text is easy to follow as each subject is set out following a template of: Essentials, Introduction, Clinical features, Differential diagnosis, Investigations, Management, Prognosis, Disposition, Controversies and Conclusion. This means that for trainees reading the book as part of their emergency medicine study each chapter follows a prescriptive style and the multiple authorship provides credibility rather than confusion. In my view the three column page layout allows for easy scanning of the material without the feeling of “information overload”.
The contents are listed in a sensible order dealing with Resuscitation and Trauma first—followed by Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Digestive systems, and so on. There are full chapters on Eye, Dental ENT, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Psychiatric Emergencies as well as Crisis intervention. Ultrasound in emergency medicine is given a chapter of its own in keeping with the interest in emergency ultrasound in Australasia. Various legal and administrative issues are dealt with providing information on an area often neglected in emergency medicine training. Environmental hazards are covered from heat related illness to altitude illness. The final chapter deals comprehensibly with the management of a wide range of toxins and drugs in overdose.
The result is a pleasing textbook full of up to date information that will be as useful to the specialist as it is to the trainee.