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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Jay P. Goldsmith, MD (Tulane University School of Medicine)
Description: This pocket-sized handbook written by three British neonatologists provides practical advice at the bedside in neonatal intensive care units. It is one in a series of specialty medical handbooks published by Oxford University Press.
Purpose: The authors indicate that the handbook arose out of their clinical files and it covers the expected competencies for British trainees defined by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. This is a worthy effort and it meets the authors' objectives, but the book has limited utility for U.S. trainees for a number of reasons and some of the areas are quite different than U.S. training.
Audience: The book is aimed primarily at students and trainees for use while on service at the bedside. It fits easily into a lab coat pocket and is similar to a Harriet Lane-type manual for neonatal intensive care. The authors are senior neonatal consultants in the British medical system.
Features: Like many handbooks, this one covers most topics in neonatology in a very cryptic manner. Most chapters are systems oriented, but there are sections on family support and ethics, neonatal transport, and iatrogenic problems. The book is easy to follow and well indexed. Some of the line drawings in the cardiology and surgical sections are simple yet highly illustrative of the anatomy that a student needs to know. On the other hand, the x-rays are of poor quality and it is difficult to see the points they are meant to illustrate. Moreover, because of the differences between the British and the U.S. medical systems, there will be problems for U.S. trainees. Different units are used (i.e., in lab values or oxygen tension) and sometimes different protocols are recommended (such as the British resuscitation protocol espoused by the Resuscitation Council versus the protocol in the U.S. promoted by the AAP NRP Steering Committee). Other areas, such as the use of sedatives and analgesia, are somewhat out of date and the narcotic scoring system does not follow what most U.S. hospitals use (i.e., the modified Finnegan scoring tool).
Assessment: This handbook is more appropriate for British trainees. It has some nice features, but the audience is limited by the differences in our medical systems. Other handbooks would be more suitable for U.S.-trained physicians. (The Harriet Lane Handbook, 18th edition, Custer and Rau (Elsevier, 2009), Neonatology: Management, Procedures, On-Call Problems, Diseases, and Drugs, 6th edition, Gomella et al. (McGraw-Hill, 2009) or Manual of Neonatal Care, 6th edition, Cloherty et al. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008).)