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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael M. Abecassis, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is the third edition of a comprehensive surgical handbook, in a unique question/answer format, which includes controversial issues and a limited, but adequate, bibliography at the end of each section. The contents include general topics (CPR, blood gas interpretation, etc.) as well as specific topics (hand injuries, pancreatitis, breast cancer, etc.).
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a "pathway of questions, from diagnosis to recovery." It is not intended to be used as a traditional textbook, but is meant to teach by questioning and as a manual to be carried around and referred to often. This format makes the book very useful to students and housestaff.
Audience: Although the authors direct this book toward medical students, the actual audience includes surgical housestaff. It provides a "refresher course" for a practicing general surgeon. Each section in this book is written by a different author who specializes in the specific topic.
Features: The illustrations are adequate both in quantity and quality; however, the bibliography varies from section to section, but is generally adequate for the format of the book. This efficient-looking paperback has a unique question-and-answer format.
Assessment: This book should be viewed as a teaching tool for medical students and junior surgical housestaff. It is comprehensive, yet detailed. It should not replace a traditional textbook of surgery. The format encourages its use because it is user friendly, and the student learns as he or she attempts to answer specific questions on the management of clinical problems. It should be purchased by individuals from bookstores that cater to medical students and housestaff. Its usefulness in libraries is questionable, because it is not a reference textbook. It is a third edition that is needed, in view of constant progress being made in the particular fields covered, where correct answers are easily outdated.