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Critical care transport field guide
  1. K Hines
  1. Eastwood Medical Centre, London;

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    M Czarnecki NREMT-P, CCEMT-P, Jones, and Bartlett. Publishers: Sudbury, M A USA, 2001, ISBN 0-7637-1580-8

    This small pocket book measures only 15 cm by 7.5 cm and is intended as a pocket reference book. It is designed to assist the reader in recalling knowledge acquired or confirmed from other sources.

    I am afraid I found it quite confusing. The pages are printed in both landscape and portrait format which means having to constantly re-orientate the book. It is divided into 25 sections, covering everything from intra aortic ballon pumps, drug incompatibilities, and burns management.

    It seemed at first sight to be a very useful collection of data but on closer examination it was most disappointing. The laboratory and other normal values are not quoted in SI units. The American values for things like blood glucose will be of little value to those working in the UK and much of the rest of the world.

    Much of the detail is specific to the hospital concerned giving details of the colour of top for the blood sample required for each parameter. The section on blood transfusion has an administration check list, which has details that are specific to the procedures at the hospital concerned and are not generic.

    There is a whole section on mnemonics and other aide memoirs. A few of these could be helpful, in the majority I would find easier to remember the lists rather than the mnemonic!

    There are old favourites like C3,4,5, keeps the diaphragm alive and PEA ITTT VOD being the differential cause of pulseless electrical activity, namely; Potassium, Embolus, Acidosis, Ischaemia, Temperature, Tamponade, Tension pneumothorax, Volume Oxygen, Drugs; which I personally find most unhelpful.

    My overall impression was sadly, that there are other similar products on the market which are more user friendly, and which have more material relevant to the field without confusion with American normal values.