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From The CriticsReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: This is the first edition of the "Americanized" Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. As a pocket edition, it is meant to be kept within quick reach to refresh one's memory of the basics. Each section focuses on the relevant basic facts of clinical features, pertinent tests, and management — essentially the items a clinician would want at their fingertips.
Purpose: The author points out the iterative process of learning and that this book is one of a number of tools to assimilate the vast quantity of knowledge necessary to practice medicine. As one of the tools, it is a good foundation upon which more detailed understanding can be built.
Audience: This book is aimed primarily at the physician-in-learning level. I envision it just as useful for those who train the students to ensure each of the take-home points are considered in the lessons. The author is an educator and appears to have chosen his approach quite well.
Features: The book is organized in a traditional organ system format, with numerous systematic approaches to the information. Specifically, there is a section on how to interpret a chest x-ray in a manner that minimizes jumping to the most obvious and missing some additional findings and one on the basic interpretation of pulmonary function studies. There is an equally good approach to interpreting electrocardiograms. Throughout the book, numerous useful tables and figures help compare therapies and summarize diagnostic criteria and grading and staging criteria. A small section of photographs also points out one weakness, which is the lack of a dermatology section where photographs would significantly increase the book's usefulness. The index is complete and useful. As it is oriented to the student, there is a great section on "help the radiologist help you" and some incredibly useful "thinking about medicine" comments at the beginning.
Assessment: This is a very helpful book. It abounds with extensive wisdom and solid medicine. There is valuable information there waiting for those in learning mode who take the time to read through it. The format makes it easy to carry in a lab coat pocket for reference when thinking about a patient and for paging through when eating lunch. It is well worth the investment.