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A Harwood-Nuss, editor. ($189). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2001. ISBN 0-7817-1680-2
While it is often said that those that can, do, and those that can't, teach, one gets the impression that the authors of this textbook not only work at the “coalface” of A&E medicine but also teach with authority. The wide ranging subject material is approached from the more clinically relevant “presenting complaint” viewpoint rather than the usual diagnostic categories, giving an exceptionally practical orientation to the book. Essentially a reference book it enters a competitive market but offers a far more readable format than its larger equivalents.
The book aims to cover not only clinical information but also management and administrative issues. The text is clear with mainly line diagrams as illustrations. A rapid interrogation of the index proved the referencing reliable and relevant. I found the inclusion of “common pitfalls” under each section heading to be a useful and insightful feature. Perhaps less helpful are the sections on patient disposition, written largely from the North American perspective. Many of the issues raised may, however, still be of interest to a wider audience. The book is largely successful in its ambitious remit to provide a reference that is both comprehensive and accessible.
This would be a useful book to have around an A&E department and may also prove valuable for those looking for a readable reference in preparation for both entry and exit examinations.
Having received my “reviewer's copy” I am no longer in the market for a reference book in A&E medicine. If I were, I might well buy this one!