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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: Small in size yet comprehensive, this is a guide for house staff of teaching hospitals to handling common problems and protocols for taking off-hours calls.
Purpose: Written by U.K. clinicians, this book takes a very comprehensive approach.
Audience: The stated audience is U.K.-trained house staff, but as an American-trained attending I found it extremely well organized and useful. There are the predictable differences between U.K. and American medications, but otherwise it is an easily transferrable book and on a par with similar U.S. books.
Features: The book is organized according to patient-related problems, e.g. abdominal pain, chest pain, etc. Each chapter starts with helpful questions to ask over the phone upon receiving the first call. These are followed by well-phrased "Elevator Thoughts" to be considered while getting to the patient and the "Major Threats to Life" of which one should be acutely aware. The pertinent physical examination and ancillary tests to be performed, leading to the differential diagnosis and treatment come next. This is a very well constructed book. My only issue is the lack of color for retina illustrations and dermatology figures, which could add significant value.
Assessment: After reviewing many of these books sponsored by individual teaching institutions, I found this one refreshing. The down-to-earth approach with things like the "Elevator Thoughts" focuses the reader in a way that I have not seen before. I highly recommend this to U.K. trained house staff and to U.S. trained house staff in concert with one of the books sponsored by their teaching program (to avoid unnecessary debate over medication issues).