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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 eighth edition of a clinical medicine handbook last updated in 2007.
Purpose: It is a compendium of the physiology, diagnosis, treatment, and human perspective of the major illnesses afflicting mankind.
Audience: It is written primarily for British clinicians, with another version, Oxford American Handbook of Clinical Medicine, Flynn (Oxford University Press, 2007), focused on American clinicians. As a U.K.-oriented book, it reflects some of the disparities between British and American practice. However, I have said many times that this distinction is frail as all can learn from the unique approach and manner of description of these gentlemen-physicians. This book is for every level of clinician, from student to consultant, and it is a quantum leap better than any U.K. books that I have seen.
Features: The book is divided into traditional organ systems, but the pearls come from the authors' approach of combining the information with classical literature and medical history to produce an easy to read and entertaining book. The opening chapters are absolute gems. The Cosmological Background to the Eighth Edition is a parody of medicine in general and all too accurate. The prologue story of Dag Hammarskjold is priceless in its portrayal of how to act as a physician and as a team member, and the section on communications and bedside manner is just plain thought-provoking. The section on death and the active management of death is a piece that every clinician should refer to periodically for the wisdom beyond the knowledge. The clinical pictures and diagrams are well done and intuitive. Finally, the index is exceptionally complete and the plastic cover and size make it easy to carry the book in a lab coat pocket or instrument bag. May I suggest (somewhat in jest) adding a plastic magnifying lens as the print is necessarily and understandably quite small?
Assessment: There are many books that all clinicians wish they had available during their training, and then there are the books that they wish they had the ability to write. This handbook is one I wish I were able to author. It is clearly one of the best with its accurate and comprehensive fund of knowledge and its emphasis on the human aspect, written by compassionate educators. I highly recommend it to all clinicians on both sides of the Atlantic. While there are points where U.K. and U.S. clinicians differ, there is clearly something to be learned by all.