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From The CriticsReviewer: Anthony Shanks, MD (Washington University School of Medicine)
Description: This is a handy review of high-risk obstetrics in a case-based format.
Purpose: The purpose is to help shape young clinicians' thinking when they are facing patients with complex obstetrical problems. The authors present interesting cases and then lead readers through the thought processes that they should use. Questions are presented at the end of every chapter. The format is designed to provide vignettes to help learners apply their obstetrical knowledge in a practical way.
Audience: The book seems geared for resident physicians and for medical students on an obstetrical rotation. Despite the limited focus, the book does a good job of meeting the needs of its target audience. I easily can envision medical students with down time during the rotation flipping through the pages of this book.
Features: The majority of the book presents a clinical vignette and then provides clues to the diagnosis. The cases are great and the information is thorough. Case 1 describes a normal, routine pregnancy and serves as a nice jumping off point for a discussion of the physiology of pregnancy. The information is accurate, but I find myself questioning the presentation. Perhaps having the questions situated immediately after the vignette may be most beneficial for the reader. The book seems intended for people in a rush. If time was of the essence, a reader may pick case 1, go over the questions, and if they get them right, move to the next case. This is reasonable, but the layout as currently constituted may give them pause before moving on. Case 2 is an excellent review of the options available for Down syndrome screening. Again, in this case, questions may be more useful immediately after the presentation. I realize that there are questions that follow the vignette, but the natural flow of the chapter may be disrupted by having the questions again at the end. Certain cases lend themselves to illustrations better than others, but the book as a whole would be better off with a few additional pictures. The entire first section likely could be omitted or significantly condensed in future editions. The information seems beneath the level of the intended audience. I found myself skimming/skipping this section and I envision other readers doing the same.
Assessment: This is an excellent handbook on high risk obstetrics. The ideal audience is medical students or residents in the field who like real life scenarios to accentuate their learning. It is best suited for those in a time crunch, and residents and students certainly qualify. Future editions should consider revamping the introductory section and including additional images when appropriate.