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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: John B. Oldershaw, MD, JD (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This book bills itself as a medicolegal guide and I believe it fulfills its promise quite nicely. In addition, it provides a compilation of a wide variety of reported results in various traumatic conditions of the head, neck, spine, and peripheral nerves using a variety of diagnostic and treatment methods. It is written and published predominantly by specialists from England. The peripheral nerve section is not written by neurosurgeons and few American references are listed.
Purpose: However, this having been said, the book is still of great value as a reference work. Our system of law, case law, derives from the English system of law. Thus, the legal aspects in the work are applicable to our system as well.
Audience: I would recommend the book as a useful reference to anyone navigating through the current legal minefields.
Features: The book's opening statement by master surgeon Bryon Jennett is very helpful in elucidating the outcome problems in head injury. This is followed by 17 chapters detailing various post-trauma complications, including post-concussion syndrome, post-traumatic epilepsy, hydrocephalus, and behavioral disorders, as well as the effect of recurrent cranial trauma.
Assessment: The section on preparation of a medical report is particularly useful in compensation cases where no adversary process is involved. The section on vertebral fracture provides an excellent descriptive summary of the various fracture types and their outcomes in different series utilizing various treatment modalities. The peripheral nerve section is well written by well known and respected figures. Unfortunately no contributions by neurosurgeons to this field are referenced. A suggestion by one of the contributors that patients compare their results with tables of reported results is ill-advised. Likewise, the suggestion that proper suture technique will result in improved function and avoidance of pain is not correct. Overall, however, the coverage of brachial plexus injury, peripheral nerve injury, and the sympathetic nervous system is quite good.