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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: James A. Taylor, MD (University of Washington School of Medicine)
Description: This is a comprehensive and practical description of the unique features of the physical examination of children. The small size of the book allows it to fit in the pockets of medical students and residents. Although technically not a subsequent edition, this handbook is a revised version of the Manual of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis, last published in 1991.
Purpose: The author attempts to provide a guide to new physicians on the special methods used in the physical examination of children. The book fills a unique niche; there are few, if any, other books entirely devoted to this subject. As the author points out, it is important that physical examination techniques not be forgotten in this era of high technology medicine.
Audience: This book grew out of a series of handouts to second year medical students, and is appropriate for students or residents. The author assumes that the reader has already acquired basic knowledge of the physical examination of adults. He has long been a widely respected and published pediatrician, and it is apparent that he has a wealth of experience.
Features: The book takes the reader through the complete physical examination of the child, arranged by organ system. The author does an excellent job in pointing out the significance of abnormal findings, as well as the differential diagnoses of these findings, frequently highlighted in tabular form. A suggested format for recording the physical examination, and copies of the revised Denver Developmental Screening Test form, growth charts, and Early Language Milestone Scale are included as appendixes. Unfortunately, the quality of the images (forms, pictures, drawings) throughout the book are poor, and some of the legends are inaccurate.
Assessment: This is an adequate reference for the medical student or resident who is learning how to examine children. The book is virtually encyclopedic in describing the possibilities for an abnormal examination finding. It might have been preferable if these differential diagnoses were listed in the order of likelihood; otherwise, the reader gets the notion that virtually every abnormality signifies a rare disease. The book is at its best when the author gives "how-to" tips. The description of the diagnosis of clubbing, for example, is wonderful. Unfortunately, these "pearls" are few and far between. The quality of the figures and photographs is poor, and some of the illustrations border on undecipherable.