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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: James P. Kelly, MA, MD (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago)
Description: This book has the appearance of a soft bound textbook. The cover is attractive and the will catch the eye of the intended audience. There is a glossary of medical terms and a handy index.
Purpose: The stated purpose is to provide information and answers to commonly asked questions in the setting of severe head injuries. These are worthy objectives, since very little information is available for families of those injured. Unfortunately, these objectives are only partially met by the authors.
Audience: The intended audience would be family members of patients who have sustained severe traumatic brain injuries. It would also have some usefulness to healthcare professionals new to the field of brain injury. The authors are not widely known outside of their local environment.
Features: Basic information about the anatomy and function of the brain is discussed. The common injuries that occur to the brain after trauma are covered, as are surgical procedures that are often performed in the emergency setting. and the intensive care experience for patients. The glossary of terms will help the reader decipher some fairly complex terminology. However, there are very few references from the medical literature provided. Only five of the 14 chapters offer any references at all. (There is a total of ten references, four of which are from the Bible. The textbook referenced offers no literature references itself later than 1990.) There is also misinformation, including a description of a concussion as a "symptom" in which an individual "briefly loses consciousness" from a head injury. In fact, the vast majority of concussions occur without loss of consciousness.
Assessment: This book represents the good intentions of authors with old and limited information as well as some misinformation which may not be very helpful to the reader. The very title "Head Injuries" is a term used throughout the book, while the community nationwide has been using the term "traumatic brain injury," which is not used anywhere in the text. The two major support organizations that are patient advocacy associations have moved since the printing of this book (The Brain Injury Association and The International Brain Injury Association). These organizations pride themselves in providing up-to-date and comprehensive literature for family members on request. I am afraid that this "family's guide" will not be high on their list.