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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David J. Dries, MD (University of Minnesota Medical School)
Description: This is an overview of Medical Emergency Teams, a resuscitation unit targeted not at critical patients coming from outside the hospital but those who decompensate within. Medical Emergency Teams, known by a variety of descriptors, represent the latest tool in the international patient safety movement.
Purpose: A manual is provided for those who might implement an in-hospital emergency response team.
Audience: Administrators, trainees, and senior clinicians are an appropriate audience for this work edited by leaders in critical care on three continents with contributors from Western Europe, North America, and Australia.
Features: The first seven of the book's 25 chapters describe the rationale for the use of emergency response teams or medical emergency teams to improve in-hospital safety. The largest section, 11 chapters in all, describes various medical emergency team configurations, response protocols and equipment required for such a program. Configurations for teams are described that are suitable for large academic centers and community hospitals where physician availability is limited. Six concluding chapters describe a variety of systems for measuring effectiveness of team process. Chapters are clearly written with major subheadings divided by texture of type. Tables and figures display supportive data and treatment algorithms. Reference lists are brief, sometimes less than 10 original citations. References date to within one year prior to publication. Diagrams and illustrations reproduce well. The table of contents lists chapter title and authorship while a subject index of seven pages provides adequate access to content.
Assessment: This is the first overview of a key part of our growing patient safety culture developed as a hybrid of critical care and emergency medicine. The experts writing here provide initial data to suggest that an in-hospital emergency response program is effective with a succinct description of methods.