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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Donald R. Frey, MD (Creighton University Medical Center)
Description: This manual approaches diagnosis through a systematic analysis of common presenting symptoms. The previous edition was published in 1997.
Purpose: The authors seek to present a symptom-oriented approach to diagnosis. Given the over-dependence on technology and the too-often "shotgun" approach used in daily practice, this book is most welcome.
Audience: Although written for all practitioners of primary care, the book's style and approach seem most geared to learners who are beginning to develop the skills to move from simply assessing patient complaints to establishing a definitive diagnosis. The authors are nationally recognized practitioners who represent a cross-section of specialties, including family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, and advanced practice nursing.
Features: The book begins with a general listing of common symptoms and references each to specific chapters in the book. Each symptom is defined in terms of its general descriptors, associated symptoms, history, and exam. A paragraph on general considerations draws each section together nicely. Patient links to educational websites are also listed. Tables and charts are timely and not overdone. The book's only drawback is its indexing through the general listing section, which may be awkward for some readers.
Assessment: This is a very helpful guide for medical learners on how to begin the diagnostic process by focusing on the symptoms the patient brings to the practitioner. Although not as helpful to the experienced physician, the book is a fine tool for those taking up the difficult task of patient interaction.