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From The CriticsReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: The author of this book takes a unique approach to the differential diagnosis, basing it upon the patient's presenting symptom. The book was first published 25 years ago and has been added to and updated since.
Purpose: It is aimed at primary care practitioners, at any level, to help expand the possible differential considerations. The many clinical case histories challenge primary care physicians to refresh their memories and keep their diagnostic skills honed.
Audience: Primary care practitioners of every level can clearly benefit from using this book, either as they are considering specific patients or as a general review. The author has significant tenure treating patients and this experience is evident in his approach. As an attending physician for many years, I found the book to be a refreshing memory jogger and well worth the time spent reading it. I can see young medical students looking to this as a Rosetta stone of medicine and coming to rely on it for years.
Features: The author uses three mnemonics; VINDICATE, VANISH, and MINT and, by constructing a table for individual symptoms against the mnemonic, he creates an easily understandable reference to expand the possibilities causing a particular symptom. This is creative and practical. In addition, the many illustrations are highly intuitive. There is an extremely useful appendix with pertinent ancillary tests which may be indicated to either confirm a diagnosis or to look for a potential complication. The lack of references is not a significant issue because this is not meant to be a comprehensive text of medicine.
Assessment: This is a unique approach to treating patients, concise, practical, and intuitive. It is a worthy addition to a primary care practitioner's desk collection. It was an absolute joy to read.