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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Paula J Graf, M.D.(St. Luke's Hospital)
Description: Harrison's continues to speak to the general internist with a clearly understandable voice. The organization into parts and sections has not changed in over 20 years and a new edition is published every 3 to 4 years, the most recent in 2001.
Purpose: The purpose is to serve as a "helpful tool" for medical students as well as practitioners. This edition's revisions reflect some of the changes in the practice of medicine.
Audience: Harrison's remains the gold standard textbook in internal medicine. It provides basic science background for medical students, detailed differential diagnosis for residents, and clinical decision-making approaches for practitioners.
Features: Nine of the 16 parts focus on organ systems in a traditional manner. Additional parts that reflect the needs of practitioners in 2004 include genetics, nutrition, critical care, bioterrorism, and poisoning. The best parts are the first two. "Introduction to Clinical Medicine" covers some of the most useful topics for the general internist and new sections include health maintenance, pre-operative evaluation and end-of-life care. Part Two, which includes 45 short chapters about common symptoms and presentations, is likely the most re-read reference in a general internist's collection.
Assessment: This continues to be the best textbook in internal medicine. Although the general format has not changed, this edition has some important and appropriate updates. The pace of change in medicine justifies the publication of a new edition.