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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: This is the second edition of an excellent U.K. book on the correct performance of the medical interview (history) and physical examination of patients. The first edition was published in 2006.
Purpose: The authors state the need to teach junior physicians an approach to interviewing patients and performing an appropriate physical examination as the purpose of this book. The Oxford handbook format serves this purpose exceptionally well, providing a reference that is easy to access to refresh the memory and to recall points regarding a specific organ system.
Audience: The primary audience is medical students and residents, but the book also is a very good resource for practitioners looking for a specific reminder while performing an uncommon physical examination. Although written for a U.K. audience, it easily can be used by all.
Features: The book is geared toward the Standardized Clinical Examination and is organized by organ systems. Each chapter includes important symptoms/presentations, a brief review of the pertinent anatomy and physiology, followed by other significant/characteristic symptoms that might be encountered. The associated physical findings that should be looked for are described well, supported by excellent color photographs and illustrations. An added enhancement in this version is the "Skills Section," which outlines step-by-step the examination technique that should be followed, including such pointers as "clean your hands" and "introduce yourself," which seem rudimentary but are essential for novice clinicians. Another helpful addition is a section on obstetric evaluations, which is usually relegated to obstetrics books.
Assessment: The simple organization, the pertinent historical cues a practitioner should be looking for, the completeness of the descriptions of the physical findings, supported by the excellent graphics, makes this one of the best books on physical examination available. I highly recommend it to medical educators and medical students, residents, and attendings. There is much to be learned by those at all levels of training from this well-organized, well-written book.